Posted by: dacalu | 27 February 2009

Love Requires

Life is a bit hectic for me right now. I have a new job and depart for Arizona in a month. In that time, I’m having fun with apartments, cars, furniture, and figuring out all the things I’m leaving behind. Sorry I missed last week’s post.

We turn now to some of the things that love requires. If Christians have a desire to increase love and bring people out of themselves, what does that mean in practical terms. I’d like to start talking about love as a discipline. What do we do?

First, Love requires awareness.
At first, I thought I would say knowledge. In order to love someone, you must know something about them. I still think that’s true, but it might not be enough. Knowledge can be objective or domineering. Love requires knowledge–and most importantly the desire to know the object of your love better–but it also requires humility. We must be willing to reveal and to be known. This can be terrifying, because it requires us to come out of our own shells and look around.

The word “passion” has been central to Christianity, though we seldom use it in the original sense. It comes from a word meaning to “suffer” or to “endure.” One of the great challenges for early Christians was a struggle over whether God could suffer anything. If God is omnipotent, should he not also be “impassive” and invulnerable? On the other hand, we say that Jesus was God and that Jesus suffered. Not only did he suffer torture and death–the “Passion” of Passion Plays, Passion Sunday, and Mel Gibson’s movie–he suffered being human, with all the troubles we are prone to.

Of all the Christian mysteries, this may be the greatest. That perfect impassive God became human, suffered and died. And all of this out of love for us. God came out of God’s shell in order to love us.

I don’t claim this is simple, or straightforward, or obvious; only that it’s true. Perhaps later in the year I can return to the question of the incarnation, but for the moment I want to stick with love. The central message of Christianity has to do with this incredible (truly difficult to believe) idea that God >suffered< for us and for love of us.

Christians attempt this same openess to others, which allows us to love more fully but also makes us vulnerable. Awareness has to do with that deeper knowledge of others that can only be experienced when we allow ourselves to be known.

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Responses

  1. Great blog and hope to have some time soon to come back and read more!


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