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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Theos Love

I began thinking a bit about love for God recently.

I estimate that I have heard several thousand sermons in my as-of-yet still pre-30 years old lifetime. These sermons have come from church, Christian education (high school and college), surfing online, and a few other sundry sources. I have been in countless more classes and Christian teaching settings, as well as "gee, how could I ever begin to remember" number of informal/casual conversations about the love for/of God. All of this exposure has been on a wide variety of levels: From theoretical to base-level, from intellectual to emotional, from philosophical to psychological to scientific to theological: The spectrum has been wide.

Is it possible to strip it all away?

Is it possible to unclutter one's mind of all the "teaching" and "learning" and "advancements"? To start afresh?

Probably not. In fact, if one were to strip away everything and have a reference point of zero then how would one even begin to think?

And yet from an experiential standpoint that is what I desire. Not even desire, but crave.

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? (Ps 42 NIV)

I truly believe that to learn I need to unlearn. To grow I need relapse. This is one reason why I cringe at so much of Christian literature. An endless stream of how-to manuals prescribe to me what is needed to love God, or "grow spiritually" (whatever that means), or attain "spiritual discipline", or have greater faith. There are as many answers as there are self-proclaimed prophets.

But in the end there is God. And there is something called "love of God" that resonates within me. A connection? A feeling? A desire? Actions of fidelity? A romance? Submission? Transcendence?

At times he is far away when he should be near at hand. At other times, when he should be far away - when my own infidelity would seem to demand it - I hear the echoes of mercy and whispers of love.[N]


Melody said...

But if we could forget everything that we've learned...wouldn't it end up like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind? We'd reach the same conclusions over and over without ever getting past them because we'd continually come up against whatever makes us think we need to get rid of what we've learned/experienced.

I'm not arguing against standing your desk for a different point of view (Dead Poets Society) but if you forget what you saw before that you won't even know that it is different or understand why that difference is important.

Jonathan Erdman said...

Unless the differences of which you speak are unimportant. Sometimes so-called differences are artificial and contrived. That is, they are developed by a particular teacher/preacher/etc. for a particular context and then taught as non-contextual and universal truths. (Truth be told there are only contextual truths =>)

Also, to strip away experiences is to be able to start afresh and with renewal. This is particularly true in relationships. As human beings our tendency is to get bored with the familiar.

Question: Why do you think there is a reference to losing the "first love" in Revelation 2:4?

Melody said...

I don't understand what you're trying to say in the first paragraph. Care to rephrase it?

Who strips away experiences in their relationships? The experiences are what defines the relationship. If you don't have them all you have are two people who don't know each other.

As for the church of Ephesus...
it sounds like they're very busy about things that God considers of secondary importance. The outside of the cup, if you will.

Jason Hesiak said...

"That is, they are developed by a particular teacher/preacher/etc. for a particular context and then taught as non-contextual and universal truths. (Truth be told there are only contextual truths =>)"

But, given that the uprightness of the desk is not ITSELF a "universal truth," does the desk's being right side up participate in an essential truth that is beyond the context in which the desk might or might not be right side up?

Jonathan Erdman said...


In response to your Platonic Forms-like question I would answer: "No." And add: When I am eating at the table I see no reason for an upright table to participate in anything....except to remain upright while I'm eating dinner!

Beautifully Profound said...

I think that is what makes us human, if we could just wipe away all that clutters our mind in order to understand something in it's very basic sense, we'd be God.

Jason Hesiak said...

A) Its not necessarily about Platonic Forms.

B) So, people and animals are ordered in such a way as to have heads and feet...the cosmos is ordered in such a way as to have heaven and earth...simply for pragmatic reasons that have only to do with measurable consequences? AND...(for the most part, besides like kangaroos and monkeys) the difference between humans and animals is that humans are upright and animals horizontal simply for practical resons that have only to do with measurable consequences of measurable phenomenon?

C) I actually associate man's uprightness more with Aristotle's notion of man's essence being as a political animal...meaning that he has the power of speech. And less with anything having to do with Platonic Form.


"...for those of us who affirm that the justice or injustice of soe actions can be known in advance of the necessities of time and of the calculation of means, there is a pressing need to understand our technological destiny from principles more comprehensive than its own. This need lifts us up to ask about the great western experiment in a more than piecemeal way. It pushes u to try to understand its meaning in terms of some oenness to the whole which is not simply sustenance for the further realization of that experiment. But the exigency of our need for understanding must not blind us to the tightening circle in which we find ourselves. We are called to understand technological civilization just when its very realization has radically put in question the possibility that there could be any such understanding." - George Parkin Grant, "Thinking about Technology."