Posted by: dacalu | 24 July 2018

Simply Love

Every few years, I take a serious look at my faith with an eye toward sharing it. Christianity has come to mean so many things to so many people. It’s hard to say what counts as correct, orthodox, or traditional. I can tell you what it means to me, why it is good news to me, and why I think it is the most important thing in the world.

My faith hangs on two simple rules.

1) All you need is love.

2) It’s always simpler than you thought.

The real challenge comes from our basic confusion about love and simplicity. Both come very close to the core of how we see the world. Often, we cannot even talk about them meaningfully. This is why I love martial arts and science and other things that let us see the real world more clearly, things we can physically do that help us mentally understand.

We use the word love to mean many things, from selfless care for another to overwhelming desire to mild interest. What is Christian love? Christian love starts with curiosity, true desire to know another. It ends in sacrifice, a willingness to give something up for the good of another. It always happens simply, concretely, and physically. It means showing up, paying attention, and then doing something to help.

If this still sounds abstract, we can start with the examples given in the Bible: feed the hungry, care for the sick, give to the poor, forgive the guilty, befriend the lonely, calm the angry, teach the willing, and provoke the unwilling. It gets tricky once you start looking at the needs of the many. How do you do all those things at once? How can you be all things to all people? You cannot. You must start somewhere – simply, concretely, and physically – and work your way out.

Simplicity can also be hard. By it, I mean the sort of truth that seems obvious and important once you hear it: something that makes you say, “I should have thought of that” even when you didn’t.” The simplest things can be the most profound. Einstein’s equation E=mc2 is simple. A pulley is simple. A book is simple (binding the pages by the edge). Simple does not mean obvious; it does mean elegant. It took centuries for humans to work these things out, but they transformed daily life.

Living simply is the great struggle of life: to do what we want with the least amount of work.

Jesus of Nazareth was an elegant, if un-imagined, solution to the distance between us – the gaps between humans and the gap between humans and God. He loved simply. He showed us simple love. He stepped – simply, concretely, and physically – into the space between. He gave us tools by which we can do the same.

I judge my own faith, my own Christianity by these standards. I judge my own actions. Do they start in curiosity and end in service? Do they match up with Jesus and the friends of Jesus through the ages who seem to have gotten love and simplicity right?

When in doubt, I try to make my faith simpler and more loving.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: