Archive for the ‘Love’ Category

The Goal of the Law

Saturday, June 15th, 2019

Though many people assume that the primary message of the prophets was to call the people back to obedience of the law, the real message of the prophets was to call people back to the goal of the law, which was love. We see this by the fact that many of the prophets are quite critical of how the people ignore justice and righteousness in the land. The prophets show that many of the people are quite observant when it comes to the law, but they neglect the greater goals of care for the poor, protection for the weak, and love for the outcast. A quick reading of some key prophetic texts reveals that their true concern was not adherence to the law, but living according to love (cf. Isa 1:10-20; 61:8; Jer 14:12; Hos 6:6; Amos 4:4-5; 5:21-25; Mic 6:6-8). Jesus, as the greatest prophet, reveals this same truth through His life, ministry, and teachings.

— J. D. Myers, Nothing But the Blood of Jesusp. 96-97

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, June 14, 2019

Letting Go in Love

Saturday, June 1st, 2019

Letting go is essential in love – it is the opposite of clinging to expectations about how things should be and allows us to accept others (and ourselves!) as they are.

— Sharon Salzberg, Real Love, p. 293

Delight in What’s Before You

Friday, May 10th, 2019

God, right there, today, in the person in front of me, joy beyond holding, beholding this day, Paradise. You delight in what is before you today in Christ. Richard Rolheiser writes that, “the opposite of depression is not happiness, it’s delight.” After all, we breathe the Spirit that delights in our being. We don’t breathe in the Spirit that just sort of puts up with our mess. It’s about delight.

— Gregory Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart, p. 159

Photo:  Bull Run Regional Park, Virginia, April 8, 2019

Love’s the Loudest Thing

Thursday, May 9th, 2019

I know that for many people of faith, maybe even for you, LGBTQ acceptance is still, in a very real way, a spiritual world rocker. I pray that if you are unsure how to respond to someone who comes out to you, you’ll take a cue from my father, who — despite all he didn’t know or understand in the moment — didn’t feel a pressing need to lecture, preach, or answer every question. He simply made sure that his love was the loudest thing he spoke. He didn’t realize it then, but he was showing me Jesus in a way that surprised and inspired and transformed me.

Friend, the heart of the bigger table is the realization that we don’t have to share someone’s experience to respect their road. As we move beyond the lazy theology and easy caricatures that seek to remove any gray from people’s lives, we can meet them in that grayness, right where they are, without demanding that they become something else in order to earn proximity to us or to a God who loves them dearly. Just as was true in the life and ministry of Jesus, real love is not contingent upon alteration, it simply is. There is no earning of fellowship or deserving of closeness; there is only the invitation itself and the joy that comes when you are fully seen and fully heard. When in Rome, you shouldn’t need to do as the Romans do in order to be welcomed. You are already welcomed.

— John Pavlovitz, A Bigger Tablep. 18-19

The Christian Calling

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2019

If conservative Evangelicalism was truly concerned about sin…

… conservative Evangelical Christianity would be truly and completely trusting the Spirit. For the Christian calling isn’t to change people, but to love them unconditionally while the Spirit does what only the Spirit can do. In the presence of perceived sin, conservative Evangelical Christians would be doing everything possible to get out of the way of the Spirit and to doubly make sure they didn’t serve as a detriment or distraction to the Spirit’s work. They would be so sensitive to this movement in people’s lives that to potentially error on the side of thwarting God’s transformative hand through fostering false guilt, shame, and condemnation, would send shivers down their spine, causing them to value restraint above all else — if it was all about sin.

— Chris Kratzer, Leatherbound Terrorism, p. 111

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, April 8, 2019

True Relationship

Friday, April 19th, 2019

Yet even though “Love God and love others” is a good summary of the law, this statement is still a law, and Christians are not called to live according to the law. Instead, we are invited to live within a relationship based on love. While God does want us to love Him and love others, we cannot do this until we know that we are loved unconditionally. And once we know we are loved by God, love for Him and for others flows naturally from Him through us as we live within that love. This only makes sense, for no relationship can be built on law. True relationships are always and only built on love.

— J. D. Myers, Nothing But the Blood of Jesus, p. 76

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, April 8, 2019

Maintaining Curiosity

Saturday, April 13th, 2019

A great foundation for loving others is maintaining a level of curiosity; we can always learn more about those we are close to.

— Sharon Salzberg, Real Love, p. 292

Photo: Bull Run Regional Park, Virginia, April 8, 2019

Fully Authentic

Friday, April 12th, 2019

Many people think that having someone close to you come out clouds your vision, but in reality it clarifies it. It redefines words for you. It rewrites false stories. It renovates your religion. It forces you to understand sexuality not as some detached issue but as what it is — human beings; in this case, those you know and love dearly. This is the gift relationship gives you. That proximity we get to people will always show us what we couldn’t see any other way. When you are faced with the reality of having an LGBTQ family member or close friend, it forces you to hold up your theology to see what it’s really made of. And when this happens, some of it gets confirmed, some of it gets shifted, and some of it gets blown up. I’d already done my homework. I’d studied. I’d prayed through it. I’d already reconciled so many of my feelings on gender identity and sexual orientation before this moment, so I knew without blinking that I didn’t have to choose between loving God and loving my brother — and he didn’t have to choose between being gay and being adored by God.

One of the things you learn when you walk down the path of being an ally is that people aren’t LGBTQ based on the consent you give or don’t give to them, the approval you provide or withhold. That’s not how gender identity and sexual orientation work. Your acceptance doesn’t give people permission to be anything. It simply allows them to be fully authentic in your presence and to feel loved as they are. It secures people in those places where they should feel fully secured: in their families and friendships and workplaces and churches. If you don’t think you have LGBTQ family members, coworkers, classmates, and friends right now, you may want to ask yourself if that’s because you’ve created an environment in which they would be afraid to share it even if they were. It might be that your words and manner have already told people that they’re not safe to be honest with you. As our society thankfully becomes less and less hostile to the LGBTQ community and as people begin to gradually feel safer in authenticity, more children will come out and more families will have a new reality to reckon with. Those families will continue to seek spiritually and they will continue to need and deserve to be in faith communities where they are fully welcomed. It is one of the reasons the table needs to be made bigger.

— John Pavlovitz, A Bigger Table, p. 17-18

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, April 8, 2019

Into the Arms of God

Wednesday, March 20th, 2019

Bonhoeffer notices Jesus giving these teachings about how to live a life of love. He says, if you approach them as mechanical, legalistic things, you’ll stumble. The key is not to turn the teachings of Jesus into a new law. The key, he says, is to throw yourself into the arms of God. Throw yourself into the hands of Jesus. And then, you might actually learn to love an enemy. Then you might pray for those who curse you. Then you know what it means to be blessed. The poor. The poor in spirit. That’s what makes them compassionate. That’s what makes them hunger for God’s justice. That’s how Peter walks on water. To throw yourself into the arms of Jesus . . . and hold on.

— Michael Curry, The Power of Love, p. 25-26

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, March 16, 2019

Nourished by Joy

Monday, March 18th, 2019

Learn to nourish yourself and the other person with joy. Are you able to make the other person smile? Are you able to increase her confidence and enthusiasm? If you’re not able to do these small things for her, how can you say you love her? Sometimes a kind word is enough to help someone blossom like a flower.

— Thich Nhat Hanh, How to Love, p. 43

Photo: Zweibrücken Rose Garden, Germany, June 2003