OPRAH´S SUPERSOUL CONVERSATIONS (Podcast) - PASTOR A.R. BERNARD - Four Things Women Want from a Man

Mar 31, 2021 08:39 · 5971 words · 29 minute read

I’m Oprah Winfrey welcome to super-soul conversations the podcast I believe that one of the most valuable gifts you can give yourself is time taking time to be more fully present your journey to become more inspired and connected to the deeper world around us starts right now pastor AR Bernard the founder of the largest church in New York City reveals in his most recent book four things women want from a man why he believes when it comes to creating meaningful relationships there are four things God wants and women should expect from a man the core of his message centers on what he says are the vital qualities every man needs to cultivate a healthy and successful relationship maturity decisiveness consistency and strength I read that your intention as a founder one of the largest congregations in America has remained consistent for the past thirty years and that is to make faith relevant how have you done that relevance means two things for us number one it means practical it has to be something that you can apply the moment you leave the doors of the church service at home second it has to be socially applicable it has to help you make sense of the world around you so I get the chance to shape the lens of people’s thinking their worldview through the eyes of faith and for me all life is spiritual mmm what do you mean well when we look at spirituality we look at the makeup of the human person and because how do you define it how do you define spirituality spirituality is our human capacity to know and experience God we experience God through worship through prayer through fasting through silence silence absolutely only solitudes shallot sellers in solitude is not being alone yeah being away from the noise and with God and with yourself and so you hear a lot of Millennials say today I’m spiritual but I’m not religious and also a lot of people watch this show say oh I’m spiritual but I’m not religious that doesn’t concern you right no because I think it’s their attempt to move away from organized religion what they’ve known traditionally and unfortunately too much of its expression seems irrelevant seems antiquated seems removed from today’s seems about dogma and control yeah and this millennial generation they’ve experienced incredible exposure to information so they are weighing things not just on name recognition or past history but on present-day merits so they think differently so they’ve made this distinction moving away from organized religions its rules its regulations its traditions and they call it spirituality which means I still believe in the divine I still want to connect I believe it’s somehow part of my existence so there’s this constant longing inside of me for that something that I can’t put my finger on don’t we all have that hunger that longing that hunger it’s in all of us and it can only be resolved when we reconnect with him too often people think especially Christianity that God is out to punish the evildoer and get back at humankind some type of revenge but no God is not about punishing us it’s about reconnecting us to Him and to each other and so that hunger is in every human regardless of which path of faith you choose that hunger is or if you choose no path every human being even the atheists even the Atheist let’s talk about your personal spiritual path you were Christian now but as a young man I know you were drawn to the Nation of Islam you say this was part of your search for the truth it began with the resolution of my identity crisis I grew up in the 60s and growing up without a father my mother single mother raising me the best she could and also being of mixed parentage my father was white never knew him he abandoned my mother and I when I was born so we left Panama where I was born and came to the United States to start a new life and I grew up in that 60s revolution so I was looking for strength for order for something to belong to and the Nation of Islam was appealing when I was a kid I used to take the train from Brooklyn up to Harlem and there this young man named Malcolm X was preaching and these guys were giving out newspapers called Muhammad speaks and I was taken by that so taken by that because there was something in there for the identity of the black mayor and it really from me it became sort of a surrogate father because it gave me order structure strength to be part of the nation that was important to me but I didn’t find God because I I didn’t know what I was looking for that longing just her anger yeah I had a hunger yeah so I knew somehow intuitive that truth reality and God were synonymous if I found one I would find the others I found in the Nation of Islam an incredible social protest against the failure of the Christian Church and white America to address the socio economic plight to blacks in this country that’s what I found but I didn’t find God so I was still open I was still searching well you have this spiritual epiphany in 1975 yeah and you told the New York Times you described it this way I felt like someone put a blowtorch to my chest and put it on full blast I started weeping and I was no longer the same person how did God sees your heart as you said he did in that moment I think it’s a process that led me up to that point because I was in banking so I had a secretary who was a little Pentecostal woman very strict dogma and tradition so she would have me little tracts and talk to me about God but what intrigued me was her childlike faith in this person because she caused me to look at the person of Christ apart from the institution of Christianity aha it was implicitly profundity and simplicity that she demonstrated before me and it intrigued me so she told me about a meeting where a former leader of the Mau Mau gang which was a notorious gang in Brooklyn a guy named Nicky Cruz he was sharing his story so I said I got to hear this because he converted to Christianity so my wife and I went that night we were in the church service and he gave his message and what he was saying wasn’t connecting there was something else going on inside of my own heart as you’re listening as I was listening and I somehow knew intuitively that Christ the Christ is what I was looking for because he made an altar call so I walked up and he said you know would you like to receive Jesus in your heart I had no idea what that meant you know he said I want to pray for you I said fine I was vulnerable I was open and then he touched me and that’s when I felt like someone from blow torch to my jet blue hold me and I did something that I would never do and that was crying in public I whipped and I couldn’t stop weeping so I walked away from the altar the service was over my wife and I are leaving my secretary and her husband come down because they were in the balcony and she said did you get it did you get it I had no idea what I was supposed to get I said to her I don’t know what I got but something happened to me and I’m trying to make sense of it so at the time you made the discovery you were married yeah - your wife Karen yeah and you are a banker 10 years is pretty successful how do you say to your wife I’m now being called to preach did you know it was it a feeling voice she saw the transformations are you being truthful she saw the transformation I came home and she tells me that she looked at my eyes and she saw a different person she didn’t understand it this is the night after that yeah the night had happened she said it was like she was looking right through me so we sat down we talked about it I didn’t have the language to explain it so you walk in and you’ve been transformed and you know it you can feel it yeah the problem is you go through such a deep and profound transformation but you don’t understand it it now set you on a journey to understand and try to discover what really happened inside of me that night and that took time but it was a major thing for you that you also said going from you know black radical activism to embrace Christianity was a major big deal yeah but in the beginning I had to go through a process of understanding who this Jesus was why he came why he did what he did I mean the whole idea notion was dying on a cross didn’t register with me well mm-hmm I talked and thought about wisdom about knowledge about understanding but not sacrifice so it introduced me to love at a level that I never imagined and that’s where the whole new journey began when did you feel the call of a call but call I can look back and with the knowledge that I have now understand that the call begins early early in life before you even know God yeah he has his hands on you he has a design for your life and it’s something that you discover within the first year of this newfound Christianity this newfound spirituality I no longer felt the same passion and love for the finance industry I begin to see life through a whole new lens my worldview was changed did it change the way you treated people did it change I was yes it changed the way I behave immediately I was no longer this aggressive individual that only saw the overthrow of the system has the way to resolve the issues in the black community I got touch with love and that was deep and profound because we all suffer from the inability to love and to be loved we don’t know what love really is and it is there that I discovered that love is the ability to extend yourself to others expecting nothing in return you know in this meritocracy system that we live and we’re all expecting it’s a try yet what am I going what do I get yeah so love is a desire to benefit the one love at the expense of self yeah because love desires to give and the contrast is lust which is the desire to benefit self at the expense of others because lust only desire to get so I began to see that people can love you people in lust you and sometimes you can’t tell the difference because it’s disguised but you better be able to discern the difference between the two you mentioned that the calling happens long before you even knew God do you believe that everybody has a calling absolutely and that calling is being designed for you by all of the experiences in your life yeah you know the Prophet Jeremiah began to look at his own deficiencies when he got the calling and he saw his youthfulness he saw his inability to articulate and communicate well and the scripture says that before I formed you in your mother’s womb I knew you and call him to be a prophet to the nation’s Oh so here this man has been called by God he has a whole life designed and laid out before him that he knows nothing about now he has to trust the one who designed that life for him how do we open ourselves to that calling how can we be more open to here and more open to find the path that is our College yes we have to believe that we do have a purpose it goes back to that eternity in their hearts well every person has a purpose every individual has a purpose and when we begin to think that way we will appreciate the sacredness of all life and not be destructive to any aspect of life who respect people better yes you know what I think is so fascinating is that I believe that is true but I think a lot of people get purpose confused with fame or notoriety for purpose yeah yeah you think that’s my purpose then I should know what that is and everybody else should also know what that is and I should be known for whatever that purpose is right I think we’ve lost a bit of that now very much lost in that well that’s well put by you and insightful deep cause too often people think purposes static yeah it’s that one thing for which I was born yeah but what happens if you achieve that at age 27 you have no reason to live beyond correct purpose is not static purpose is dynamic whoo that’s good purpose continues to be applied throughout your life Oh tweetable moment I said yeah what your gifts your talents and abilities that are given to you about God that remains consistent throughout your life but how you apply that changes as you live life from one level to another and you go through stages of life Aristotle said at the intersection where your gift talents and abilities meet a human need therein you discover your purpose how many times how many intersection do we meet in life many many not just one many so a big part of your work at the Christian cultural center involves counseling men in fact I understand at one point more than half of your members were men which is so rare these days what is the message that draws them in the average male church membership is about 15% I was gonna think say in the Uniting 2015 20% we were at 58% male and 42% female wow that’s incredible when people would come to our church service and they would look out on the ground they would see these guys and ties bow ties suited up because some of the disciplines that I learned in the nation all right I didn’t lose when I became a Christian those are things that I continued and I brought that into how I managed and ran the church so men had a very discipline high profile in the church and they were seen as the protectors of women I believe that when a man becomes the man that God designed him to be it has a liberating impact on a woman it frees that woman to be the woman that God designed her to be yeah you said it’s focusing on the man that will liberate the one I believe that how so how so the number-one complaint that women have about men is that men don’t listen yeah so when I finished the manuscript I gave it to my wife I said read it tell me what you think she came back to me with a smile and she said you’ve been listening oh so I’ve learned to listen I’ve learned to observe you said something gosh this was years ago in a show that you were doing and you said men and women speak the same language but they interpret things differently yeah absolutely but if you don’t know that and understand that they even have a child you don’t understand why you’re hearing something different than exactly but I think it’s interesting you start with maturity is the first one because okay tell me why because maturity doesn’t come with age it begins with the acceptance of responsibility so you could have a man who’s 66 66 years old and he’s still an adolescent yeah you could have a man who’s 20 years old and he’s very responsible he’s mature so maternity begins with the acceptance of responsibility for our words our thoughts our motives our actions and our attitudes the women that I interviewed for the book cannot tell you how many of them said well I just wish you would grow up what does she mean by that she means I want him to be responsible for what he says because words build relationships relationships are based on trust so when he gives his word and doesn’t keep it he damages the relationship by damaging the trust I want him to take ownership for what he says be truthful with me this is what she says I want consistency between what he says and what he does I realize he’s human why yeah I want consistent cuz I want to be able to trust exactly exactly and when Trust is broken the relationships is damaged and she becomes insecure in the relationship right and God wants the same thing absolutely yes yeah he wants the same thing from us he wants us to be mature he wants us to be decisive decisiveness is the ability to make decisions confidently and quickly and in order to do that you have to have a set of values and principles that guide your decision-making process you have to be focused and you have to be stable of mine and it’s interesting that you okay so you have maturity decisiveness consistency and then strength it’s interesting to me because to me maturity and decisiveness and consistency equal strength are represent strength that’s how you actually get strong is by doing those things well you hit the nail on the head because strength I’m not talking about physical gradual rap I’m talking about strength of character yeah you say on page 162 it’s the courage I love this the courage to live out your convictions that’s right no matter what the crowd is does right and that’s strength and a woman wants to see that that what he says he’s going to stand behind in fact when a man is strong he can be gentle because he’s strong yes he can be gentle you say why write this book now several reasons the first reason has to do with men being a responsible male in modern America is a full-time job and a tough one at that never before in the history of humankind have distractions been so plentiful and temptations so prevalent even well-intentioned men can become caught up in seemingly harmless behaviors that can quickly turn destructive you know I never thought of it that way before I thought when men had to go out and actually physically hunt and bring back the meat and go out to the horse that life would have been a lot harder but you’re right they’re not there weren’t as many distractions yeah today we’re engaged in a battle that is greater than a physical battle it’s a battle of the mind and there’s so many things to invade our minds and take us away from the right path in life and men have a difficult I know that growing up without a father I picked up images of masculinity from television from movies from the neighborhood I didn’t get it in school there’s no course on how to be a man manhood 101 it was not there you know and even in the churches it was not geared toward you know it without a father how do you figure that out exactly that’s a lot of trial and error and sometimes more trial and more error than you even want to imagine but also the changing culture all right the last several decades we’ve seen women experience unprecedented wealth and education the upward mobility of women in American society is amazing and it’s great 60% of college enrollment today is female only 40 percent male women are taking over jobs and occupying positions of power and influence and I will tell you that has become quite intimidating to a lot of men and I wrote the book because I wanted to give women number one a framework with which to make better decisions and a way in choice understand and I want to give men a standard for manhood that they can measure up to so I don’t want women to have to come down I want men come up thank you for that cuz we don’t want to have to come down we want you to at least meet us right here yes yes yes so in four things that women want from a man you’ve said that your goal for this book is to help men understand the new role of women in their lives I saw one of your interviews that you did you asked the question very important question powerful question and that is what is the lesson that it took longest for you to learn yes right and I have to say in answer to something like that it’s appreciating and understanding my wife’s role and value in my life ah that was a tough one because I I just felt I was the responsible one I had to do it all but God placed her in my life for a reason for purpose and her role was very very valuable it’s not till I understood that and embraced that lesson that she became free to really participate in my life in the way that I needed what enabled you to see that was something she did or something that you righteous crisis and you know as a banker you have a workaholic you a workaholic and then we are ministry yes so I committed the sin of transposition and that’s where you put things that should be second first and the ministry people yes all that became more important than my family and it really hurt her because I’d appreciated her and whatever you depreciate in life decreases in value so her value became lesson in my own creature in his own eyes yes see so I had to make those adjustments yeah the turning point I was in Dallas Texas attending of pastors conference yes and the pastor told his story and I felt oh gosh this guy’s livid my story went back to the hotel room spent the night in deep thought and reflection woke up that morning I just started weeping and I couldn’t stop crying because I felt the weight of responsibility for what I created in the relationship and I ask God’s forgiveness because as a man I’m responsible for the condition state of affairs in my home and in my marriage and I felt to call her and I felt got impress upon my heart don’t expect her to receive what you’re going to say but I didn’t care about that it didn’t matter because this needed change she would benefit from but I needed it more than she did so I called her and I said I apologize for the state of affairs in our relationship and I take full responsibility for the condition of our marriage for the condition of our family and your emotional condition right now I’m sorry and I’m making a change as of this moment she said to me yeah okay but it didn’t matter yeah it did not matter because she was still so hurt she was hurt and I work harder on me and that became a leadership principle for me whatever you want people to become you must become at first so you’ve got to model what you want people to think about you and how you want them to feel about you so I went to work on me I don’t work on my congregation I work on me and try to present someone that they could respect admire and look up to for their state of soul and leadership and guidance but you’ve come to know and understand as you say here and for things what they want from a man that but marriage is it’s an emphatic Union yeah yes where the two there there are many benefits of marriage it could be companionship sex children money you name it but those are benefits there’s only one goal and that is that the two become one that’s a process over time it’s an empathetic union in that you get to the place where you understand that if your spouse hurts you heard so we feel each other’s hurts celebrations pain gladness joy because we become one I discovered it one night on a trip driving down to Washington DC and you know when I Drive I’m on a mission so I’m thinking about getting there not the journey so about two hours into the drive she said to me she says are you hungry and I said no and I just keep driving but I noticed she got quiet there was no more conversation so when we got to DC I said are you okay yeah I’m fine I said are you sure you’re fine she said well actually I was hungry and you wouldn’t even have the decency to pull over and stop so we can get something to eat I said but why didn’t you just say you were hungry she said I did I said no you didn’t she said I did when I asked you if you were hungry I said oh that’s how it works so I got it so now you hungry means do you want to eat exactly music do we want to eat exactly don’t we want to stop and get something I didn’t get it yeah so that’s why I began listening more and focusing on what she said how she said it and I will tell you it was revolutionary in our relationship I learned so much about myself as a man so much about her as a woman so it’s because you’ve been paying attention that you were able to to come and do this yeah where does spirituality fit in in this volatile world of politics how little world religion gives us three things it gives us morality a sense of right and wrong it gives us guidance that we can believe in beyond our selves that somehow there’s a divine hand at work and it also gives us consolation it gives us hope for the future so the place of spirituality is to be the moral arbiter within society it is to look for divine guidance whatever position we serve in society but it also gives us hope when we’re in crisis and when things are volatile and we think that you know the world is going to end no it’s not life will continue is cyclical we go through stages we go through levels and seasons but life will continue can you speak to the painful divide we’re all experiencing right now yeah I think that we’re all talking it no one’s listening so we’re talking at each other trying to get our point across do I need to listen to each other and listening is an art it has to be focused and you’ve got to get out of yourself in order to truly listen to someone else I once read where you said that every personal crisis begins with an identity crisis so is it possible that we all the collective body of the United States are experiencing a collective identity crisis you hit the nail on the head again yeah identity crisis is common to every human being as an individual but remember whatever conflicts we’re having we’re going to express that out into the world around us so that conflict continues to expand as the group expands so when you have a body called a nation that is an entire grouping that can be in crisis right you take when we were trying to figure out how do we respond to the Syrian refugees and you’ll hear well we should take them in because that’s who we are as America and then the other say we should protect ourselves against them because that’s who we are as America so you sit down you ask a question well who are we as America yes that’s an identity crisis and I think that started back in the 60s when we began to embrace change but not know how to work through it together and those who resisted change wanted to maintain the status quo do you think that social media has contributed to the worldwide identity crisis mmm absolutely and let me tell there are benefits to social media it’s it’s good all right but at the same time it allows you to take on several identities you can be whoever you want and you can change identities you know on a whim I think that’s problematic because when do we discover who we are as the individual because every one of us has a unique DNA we are a unique creation of God and until we reconnect with God and discover that identity in God we will continue to look to become someone other than who we’ve truly been made to be do you have a prayer for our country do you pray for our country I pray for wisdom I pray for guidance for all of our leaders at every level and I pray for humility because you cannot embrace wisdom and guidance if you’re not willing to humble yourself how do you keep yourself humble when you have one of the largest congregations and people refer to you as the kingmaker the spiritual power broker I mean you have reached a level that I think a lot of people would aspire to where if you wanted to you have this use of power and influence and all of that so what what is the what is it that keeps you humble power is not for you it’s given to you to serve people and if you think that it’s all about you you’re in trouble and you have to intentionally build into your life those things that will protect you from yourself I don’t underestimate my ego or my ability to make decisions that are detrimental so I try to build into my life the systems and the people that keep me in check and balance what’s the purpose of the soul the soul if we define it as the mind will and emotions that integrated system that make up who we are as a unique person an individual it becomes central to the choices that we make in life it is the very essence of who we are as an innovate and the responsibility that we have to shape and fashion that soul so that it functions in a way that we experience our best life it’s been said that you should know the truth and the truth shall set you free what is the truth well it depends on how you apply it because there is universal truth truth period is eternal like one of the universal truths that I’ve learned that it’s not what you get or achieve in life it’s the person you become in the process but then there’s that personal truth that I subscribe to and that personal truth is who I identify with and how I identify spiritually which is most important to me because when we think about identity we think in terms of culture race religion you know who your parents were social status etc but when I resolved the identity crisis through my relationship with God and that I was made in the image of God and I began to think of myself in that way it changed the game for me wow what is the biggest obstacle to peace as you see it selfishness hmm I think in order to love we’ve got to be unselfish and people are not willing to let go of their own self-interests I think there would be peace my wife and I will be married 45 years this year and in the beginning because love is redemptive it’s sacrificial and it’s unconditional so when we got married 45 years ago we had a list of the things that we loved about each other right and that’s wonderful but after a while we discovered that if you have reasons to love someone you have conditions and when the conditions are not met the relationship is in trouble oh that’s good so today we love each other for no reason that’s unconditional love it takes courage to love like that it takes selflessness to love like that and until we get to that place of society we’re gonna continue to have the conflicts that we have oh that’s one of the best definitions I heard we love each other for no reason and that’s what unconditional unconditional love Wow so what is the root of racism fear yeah fear fear of the unknown fear that drives us to be shaped in our thinking by stereotypes by prejudices by biases by things that we don’t even know about the other person that’s why I love to sit down and have a person tell me your story and I’ve done that with so many people from so many walks of life people with lifestyles totally different from mine diametrically opposed to mine sometimes and I listen to that’s their story and I share my story and all of a sudden a bond of relationship is created and talking about sharing your story what is the most difficult choice or decisions you’ve had to make to ultimately fulfill your destiny Wow so many decisions I had to make along the way yeah but I think the defining moment was accepting God’s love for me in spite of myself well that was important because we can think of all the reasons why we don’t deserve the kind of love that God gives redemptive ly sacrificially and unconditionally and once I accepted my value in God’s eyes that settled everything for me and it didn’t require me to be affirmed or proved by people because now the divine approval is there what are you most proud of yourself for obviously you’ve done accomplished so much I’m most proud that after all of this time after all the years of marriage 40 years of ministry I’m proud that my wife can sit on the front row on Sunday morning hear me preach and genuinely say Amen because she knows the man and she can still respect the man and love the man that’s that’s the best thing I ever heard thank you thank you Paisley thank you sorry that’s great that I just oh that’s the best thing I’ve heard that’s the best I’m Oprah Winfrey and you’ve been listening to super-soul conversations the podcast you can follow supersoul on Instagram Twitter and Facebook if you haven’t yet go to Apple podcasts and subscribe rate and review this podcast join me next week for another super soul conversation thank you for listening [Music].