Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
Love is spiritual; that is, it does not reduce to any construct of physical, emotional, or mental elements. But we do have an intuitive sense of what love is like and how it works.
Earthly life is the Love Lab where we learn to love and to be loved. We need both; these go together like breathing in and breathing out.
That inbreath begins with our birth. Warmth and sweet tastes are not the same as being loved; but that's how we recognize it initially. Love flowing in becomes love (and other things) flowing out -- unless there's an obstruction in the flow.
At least in this age, there seems to sooner-or-later always be an obstacle. Certain people love us yet many many of us typically don't entirely feel loved, not loved the way we need by the people we need to be loved by... (They've got problems of their own -- too busy, too stressed, want to give more than circumstances allow) -- and that feeling persists, comes to light in odd ways.
Diabetes and heart trouble... The physiologist has a chemical explanation for why these are linked -- but here we are again talking about sweet tastes and being loved! Valentine hearts full of chocolate. Taking precisely two cookies from the plate. Sneaking that third cookie. And more, more! Trying to give and take equal portions of ice cream, while hoping we'll get the biggest without trying, wishing we weren't so crazily twisted about these things.
I fast for two weeks and I'm a saint. I take my first bite afterwards and I'm a glutton again!
Gaining weight at the refreshment table after Meeting...
Love and indulgence... not at all the same things -- But indulgence is the easiest way we know to embody love, both for others and for ourselves.
Some people pampered, some people malnourished. Obesity and all its discontents. Pains, fears, hoarding and guilt. Technologies that make some things too easy and other things impossible. We can't give these up because doing without them feels too much like being unloved -- and yet these things aren't love and don't satisfy, but only addict.
Diseases of appetite, diseases of personal and social interaction... People destroy the world we need to live in, because no matter how much they eat of it it's not enough.
And yet there continues to be love, in us and around us. It just isn't easy, to give or receive or admit to... yet.
Why can't 1 John 4:8 mean just what it says?
I expect that the man who wrote 1 John 4:8 meant whatever he meant by it;
but if I try to decode his thinking I come out with something like "We who believe this know God because we love everyone else who believes this [and therefore everybody who doesn't believe it doesn't love us and must not believe it because they don't like us and therefore must be bad!]"
It must be one of those messages God left lying around for whomever it might somehow illuminate.
"Love" in the culture of the time meant something like 'group solidarity'. [Hence statements about people following Jesus by 'hating' their mother and father, ie by detaching from them and joining an abstract 'family' of his adherents.] I strongly suspect I'd be one of the out-group to anybody 'in' with that group.
I do find that God is quite loving. Sometimes passages in the Bible help to remind me of that; and sometimes they don't.
Somethings don't have to be decoded and the scripture is "God is Love" not "God is loving".
What I mean by "God" is not what I mean by "love".
A Moslem would probably agree that "Love" is a name of God. But so is "Truth".
These are not definitions, not equations. They're metaphorical descriptions of what God is like. Anything that isn't like that isn't God (though God would be at work in it, if it exists at all.)
I guess I agree to disagree. I thought based on the beginning of this blog that you believed love was more than an idea or concept but had life in and of itself. My view differs in that I see Love as being the very nature of God, intrinsic to His being and Jesus as being the human personification of that Love. I do not profess to understand what that word used to describe God's nature fully encompasses, recognizing that everyone has their own idea(s) of what love is.
I see the guy as a guy -- one with a heavy Message, a dangerous Assignment, one very tight connection to God to be able to get through it unbent. But too much himself to be a personification of anything. (Not even Wisdom, which he's also been said to personify.) The best example we've got of what those things look like, yet still another one of us bewildered humans -- Remember that aspect of his life?
Our concept of love points to something that transcends the concept. I guess we've got ways to recognize that something when it shows up -- But if it transcends the concept, I simply can't have an adequate concept of it (Isn't logic wonderful?)
You are probably more representative of today's Christians than I am, though most probably don't acknowledge it. The human aspect is what makes it so easy to follow Him. Every once in a while I think I must be crazy to believe what I do but then I realize He must have gone through the same doubts. Too many times God has done things in my life that support my beliefs. I am near the finish line and I am certainly not going to quit until my race is done. God bless. I have a small pamphlet on God is love that I could email you if you want to see more fully where this concept leads.
I'm sure that it wasn't at all easy being Jesus -- but that it was the only way he could be.
Martin Luther King was a smart, brave man -- and had to struggle to live according to the truth he was able to see. What he knew was perfectly clear to a great many people -- and yet he was the only person we had with whatever it took to say it for us all and not wimp or fudge away from it. That was why King was shot; and that was very much why Jesus got crucified.
When Moses had his experience at that bush -- and got the Mission of leading all the Jews of Egypt away from all those nice fleshpots, out into one very inconvenient desert... That was what we would call 'a leading'. It must not have seemed anywhere within possibility for him -- and yet it was his.
We don't get led to do someone else's tasks; our own are quite enough. They turn out doable, for us, with God's help. And yes, we certainly can expect to doubt... and certainly should doubt how much success is required of us.
Jesus was told, as I understand it, that God had chosen him to serve as the rightful (but not openly acknowledged) King of Israel, at a time when taking on that task was a death sentence -- and also given the wisdom to see that he could not accomplish what God demanded by force and violence. I don't know what prophecies he could have read to predict that he would die horribly -- but that was clearly the most predictable outcome. It must have been sheer hell -- and a beautiful life for the person it belonged to, both!
Many times God has done things in my life that upended my beliefs and turned them rich and strange. I do want to stick around to see how things go from here. Maybe, as the old hippie saying went, 'The Baby Jesus will open my mind and shut my mouth' before I'm done here. Something of the sort reportedly happened to old Thomas Aquinas. However that goes, life is good!
Thanks for sharing. It's always good for me to consider your perspective.