Nov 21, 2007

Brothers and Sisters are We (?/!) – Part One: Intro and Background

Hey guys, I posted a note a few weeks back that was intended to set the stage so to speak. It is of the utmost importance to me that those who read this series read this post first. I will not spend any time here discussing why I feel it is important, as I do so in that post. PLEASE take the time to read this post A Confession From the Heart.

Again asking for your prayers for me to handle this well and ultimately for the Glory of Christ on this campus and in our lives!

Thank you very much!

In Christ,

Aaron Hawk
Col. 2:6,7



Well folks, the first part of the big post I’ve been talking about is finally here. Few of us who have been around the seminary for any length of time, especially the singles, have any doubt that there are some weird dynamics among the men and women of this campus. Let’s just face it, there are a lot of odd tensions here, that don’t seem to exist outside of this societal bubble. So what are these tensions? Where do they come from? Why is it so weird? What can we do (other than pull out our hair)?

Through this series, I will be trying (note the word “trying”) to analyze some of the social dynamics and spiritual issues that contribute to the tensions. I will also be trying (there’s that word again) to see how these things feed off of one another so that we may better understand the triggers and, thus, learn to deactivate them. From there, I will address what I perceive to be the root cause(s). Through this series, I sincerely hope to generate Christ-honoring discussion that would help us to more sincerely reflect Christ’s glory in every aspect of our lives. Thus, please participate.

Preliminary Thoughts / Ground Rules

It is with a heavy and trembling heart that I write this post. Let me begin by saying right up front that I am not claiming to have all the answers or a perfect perception, quite the opposite. Neither is my purpose to provide a step-by-step solution, because I do not have one. Instead, my purpose is to raise the issue for Christ-honoring discussion so that the body of Christ here may be more aware of the problem and thus work toward a solution. So, I will simply try to make some observations and suggestions to get things going.

Please also understand that I do not write this flippantly. I have actually put off and even rewritten it several times (though you may not be able to tell :). Instead, it is with humility and even a little fear that I write this particular post. I write with humility realizing my sin and my limited perspective distort and color my view of things. I write with fear in realizing that I am dealing with a very sensitive subject and with frail human beings such as myself. I pray that my writing will not lack the grace which was so richly bestowed upon me and thereby turn this into a tool for the evil one, rather than a banner for Christ. My greatest fear is to have to answer to my Lord for hurting one of His little ones… I have done that too many times already. My heart’s desire is that Christ would bring about change and repentance on this campus and that we, His children, would genuinely reflect His glory in every aspect of our lives. Whether Christ chooses to use this as a tool in accomplishing this or not, I pray for His glory and His will alone!

Oh yeah, one last thing, please show some grace as there are bound to be some organizational issues. In truth, these are the ramblings of a fool and I am still not sure how best to organize things for maximum efficiency and effectiveness (Prov 30:2-3).


I suppose the first place to start is to address whether or not an issue really exists. In my flawed mind, there is no doubt that one exists between the single men and women on this campus. I have had countless conversations with both male and female friends in which I have heard generalizations about both sides, specifically in terms of how the men and women interact. Both sides seem to have a high degree of frustration and often a rather low view of the other, as a generalization. Below I am going to give a list of some of the male and female perceptions that I have heard in these conversations. Please bear in mind that some of these were spoken out of frustration, while some were stated in more general conversation. I have tried to compile and smooth over them a little, while still leaving the genuine frustration exposed. My point in including the list is to clearly establish the existence of a genuine problem.

Sorry, the formatting is kinda messy for the list, not sure how to fix :/

· Male Perceptions
o There simply aren’t enough single ladies here for the number of single guys. If we manage to find someone we’re interested in, competition is so high, we’d better not wait because she’s probably got 10 other guys talking to her this afternoon.
§ This place is a “barren wasteland” when describing “potentials.” How am I going to compete with 3,000 other guys for the same 2 girls (in the middle of work, classes, and church involvement)?
o Due to the unnatural balance, many are simply stuck up and always holding out for someone better (saying they are “Dating Jesus”). They realize that the market is in their favor and they are playing it.
§ Some are searching for Christ himself
o Seminary “messes the girls up” Seminary girls just have an air about them that says back off.
§ When we try to talk to a girl, we are often ignored and usually treated as suspect.
§ Seminary girls are not worth the trouble. They won’t talk to you, they won’t date, what am I supposed to do? I’m going to Southeast, or to this place or that place, or to online dating. At least there, I won’t be treated badly for smiling at a girl and I can just naturally get to know someone.
o We are constantly being told (from administration, peers, etc) that we need to “step up” and be bold, yet when we do, we are shot down time and time again and then told that we are acting like vultures. We have no valid means to get to know girls here, no avenue by which we can get to know someone and not be viewed in that way.
o Feel like the entire thing rests on our shoulders… one way street. Girls here don’t reciprocate anything.
· Female Perceptions
o I hear it all the time… the odds are good, but the goods are odd. Some of the guys here are really creepy
§ Some men here act like stalkers. They won’t leave you alone and when you talk to them, they are watching your mouth, but not listening… I’m not interested!!!
o Some guys treat the women like steak and act like rabid dogs after a cat. Don’t like the word pursue.
§ Women are here for more than having babies
o Guys need to back off… too many asking me out, can’t any just be interested in friendship. I’m tired of guys I don’t even know asking me out… it makes me uncomfortable.
§ Why can’t guys accept common courtesy, like a smile, without thinking I’m interested in them.
o No one ever asks me out… where are they, they need to step up!
§ Guys won’t even talk to me, so I sit with the older married men… at least they will talk and acknowledge that I exist.
o Guys here are too shallow, they are expecting supermodels and need to grow up
o Feel trapped… how can I show a guy I am interested without being too forward / violating the headship thing. Feel we have no “rights” in choosing someone in terms of having to be totally passive until someone asks.

Before I continue, I just want to point out a few things. First, though you cannot really see it very clearly in this condensed list, I have been surprised at how often both sides are saying the same things, just in different ways. This is common in many types of conflict; both sides are saying the same thing, but not understanding the other. For example, both sides resort to simply saying that the other is “messed up.” Both sides feel trapped and confused in one way or the other. Also, in all of my conversations, the majority of both males and females were not happy about being single, but weren’t sure what to do to “fix” things.

Again, I sincerely ask for grace as I attempt this. I am just one person and these are just my musings and my feeble attempts to put things together. Thus, as the series unfolds, I want discussion and other opinions and suggestions that might help “fix” some of this, working toward the glory of Christ. I am going to try to take this from a linear perspective, while admitting to you right up front that these problems are extremely complex and reciprocal in nature. Trying to isolate male / female problems from the rest of life is like trying to figure out which particular snowflake caused the avalanche. The simple fact is that there are other factors (such as sin, family, etc) which further complicate things. Also, I must point out that many of these things are common to all male / female relationships and are not entirely unique to this campus. However, I think they are exacerbated by the unnatural balance here and that there are a few things which are more unique to this setting (and yes, I realize the logical contradiction there :).

As one final thought before I begin, I realize that some of you will not understand what I am talking about at all. As an example, I was speaking to one married couple that I love very much who met here. The wife had been here and single and had been “in the midst” of the weirdness. They met and began dating not long after he arrived. She and I, along with a number of others, have had this conversation on a number of occasions. As he was discussing this with me, specifically in terms of this post, he said that he really didn’t see what I was talking about and thought that it is really not such a big deal. She immediately responded that she had observed these things and that he had been “saved” from them by nature of their relationship. It is my sincere opinion that this problem does exist; I would not be writing and potentially causing harm if I were not convinced. I believe that this problem is similar to an undertow. One person can look out over the water and see everything as normal and relatively calm and admire the beauty of the ocean. Another person can decide to go swimming and get caught by what didn’t appear to exist. At this point, I leave it to you to decide.

I hate to leave you hanging so to speak, but I do not have a choice. In the next part of the series I will be analyzing “the issues,” trying to present what I perceive to be some of the underlying causes behind the perceptions already mentioned. Depending on how I divide it, the next part may be the bulk of the series. I am still trying to decide the best way to really address the individual issues and still really demonstrate the interplay between them. Again, it is a very complex / reciprocal problem (I sincerely think someone could get a PhD studying this dynamic).

Nov 15, 2007

I’m An Air Sniffer

Ok, this is not the big one, but just had to share…

It is interesting to me the things that fascinate me / us (don’t get too lost in that logical circle :). Last night I was walking with a friend outside and, being quite rude, stopped him mid-sentence to comment on the smell in the air. There are a handful of smells that always stop me in my tracks, I “couldn’t help myself.” It was that cool, fresh-rain smell combined with the robust and full smell of fresh pine. I have no idea what exactly it is about those smells, but I just love them! In the insanity that is my way of reasoning, I also realized there is something about this that is to teach me about Christ. I will not take this very far, attributing all sorts of things to this. The simple thought that came to my mind was that this “sweet savor” is like unto our prayers and supplications to our God… our supplications are literally pleasing to Christ! May I please Him!!! Sometimes the deepest things are also the most simple!

Nov 13, 2007

Another Confession From the Heart

Well folks, once again, I have to ask for a time out. I really don’t like doing this, but, as I said before, I must keep first things first and I’m a theology student before I’m a blogger. This is the last week of classes for us at Southern, next week is a reading week, and then exams. That said, time is really a premium. I have the big post all marked up and ready to be as finalized as it’s gonna get, but simply can’t justify the time to actually finish it just yet. That said, I will be trying to finish it this coming week. I am also likely to break it into at least two parts so it is more palatable. I know I sound like a broken record with the “it’s coming” but this has been the most insane semester for me (I spent half of it sick, and the other half catching up). I thank you in advance for your understanding and will make every effort to have it posted next Monday.

In the mean time, if you have not read my previous post “A Confession From the Heart,” I would strongly recommend reading it before this next post.

In Christ,

Aaron Hawk

Nov 5, 2007

A Confession From the Heart

Well, plans are finally underway with the big post I have been talking about. I will be editing and rewriting it this coming week, hopefully making it more clear, concise, and Christ-honoring. That said, I am reposting a note I wrote a while back. I am doing this as a “springboard” or “frontrunner” for the larger and more in-depth post. Thus, it is extremely important to me that anyone who reads the next post (which should be next Monday), read it in the context of this post. In other words, I want anyone who reads the next post to understand that I see my own part in the whole and am not writing as if removed from the situation or from a judgmental standpoint. With that I will leave you to read the frontrunner.

Blessed in Christ,

Aaron Hawk
Col. 2:6,7


Originally posted 5:25am Monday, Apr 9 2007 on Facebook

I just want to share from the heart for a moment. That said, I am going to be quite blunt, and would ask that you show me grace as I confess my sins. Since I have been at Southern, I have entered into countless conversations about the male / female interaction here. In these conversations, I have heard both sides express extreme frustration for many reasons (and tried desperately to hear both sides as honestly as possible). I will not here address these conversations per se, but only mention them to provide background to my own sin and hopefully demonstrate that I have really done my best to take these issues to heart. Finally, though I have heard a number of seminary guys express similar feelings, in this note, I can only speak for myself.

Now on to my confession: I have erred in my perception toward “seminary girls.” I do not believe that I have sinned against any particular girl, but have stacked my frustration against the mass “they.” One of my biggest complaints has been that, in relation to single guys, seminary girls act quite cold (as a generalization, I never meant the sum total). Ok, calm down and let me explain (and apologize). By this, I mean that it has seemed girls around here act like talking to a guy is the equivalent to a marriage proposal. Therefore, they remain aloof and refuse to enter into a conversation. Now first, let me say that if there is truth to this point, I can’t really blame them considering the “vulturesque” way it seems many Seminary guys act. It really pains me to see the way that some girls are treated.

One of my greatest contentions (and supporting evidences) is that when I’m walking around campus or through a building, most girls will not even smile and say “hi.” “They” avoid eye contact and act as if they are totally unaware that someone else is around, even though their stiff body language and deliberate downward stare say the exact opposite. Since I have been here, I have taken great offense at this. It has seemed to me that the girls are treating me as sub-human, by not at least acknowledging that “yes, you are a fellow human, and I will acknowledge that by giving you a common greeting.” Despite the fact that I am very shy in a group of new people, I am an extremely social person. Thus, this type of situation really bothers me.

Here I must chase a small rabbit and also confess that, though it is rare, I sometimes do the same thing for various reasons: Sometimes, I am so ashamed of myself and aware of my own sin, that I don’t want to interact with anyone. Sometimes I am just in a hurry and don’t want to have a conversation… you get the point.

Back to my main point… the other day, I realized that I have, unknowingly, had a double standard in my perception. I was on a break from class and walked past a number of people on the way. Some of them were male and some were female. On the way back to my room, I noticed the females ignoring me for the most part, as always. I ate lunch and then headed back to class. Once again, on the way back to class, I passed a number of people, but this time, I noticed that about the same ratio of male and female students either greeted or ignored me. I was immediately hit with my double standard and my own insecurities. The simple fact is, I didn’t notice the guys ignoring me because I don’t care in the same way. Though I don’t like being ignored by anyone, I was only sensitive to the times one of the seminary girls would ignore me.

It grieves me to think how I have sinned in my heart and my mind toward such Godly and wonderful ladies as we have on this campus. Further, I am grieved that my own thoughts may have contributed in some way to the already tense and awkward situation that exists here. I think we can all agree that, whatever the exact situation is, it is an unnatural one and, therefore, a confusing one. So, why did I write this note? Let me assure you it was NOT to complain or to stir up trouble. In fact, I question the wisdom of posting this note, as I do not want to offend anyone for the world. What then was my purpose? Well, it was partly to apologize, but generally this type of sin does not need a public apology. More than that, my simple hope is that we would all be more aware of how we treat each other and examine our own hearts… for ourselves and especially for those around us. To the guys, I hope that we, as Christ’s children, would love and respect our sisters in the proper way. To the girls, I hope that you would realize that we “gruff” men are much more sensitive than you may realize and something as simple as “hi” can brighten our day.

I thank my God that He has shown me the error in this perception and pray that He would help me to always see other people and situations through His eyes and not my own. May He continue to refine and sanctify me! To all of the wonderful women that God has placed here, I am sorry! May the Lord bless and strengthen you!!!