On Love

Lee has pointed to some very good pieces, the first written by bls against the contention made by Philip Turner in “First Things” that a theology suggesting that” God is love, pure and simple”, is “unworkable” (You can read the excerpts she provides there). The second is from Christopher working off of bls’s piece and some questions asked by Lee himself.

I don’t have a whole lot to add that they haven’t already said, and will only offer another bit of gooey liberalism no doubt from a source that no self-respecting “First Things” author would recognize:

221. But St. John goes even further when he affirms that “God is love”:44 God’s very being is love. By sending his only Son and the Spirit of Love in the fullness of time, God has revealed his innermost secret:45 God himself is an eternal exchange of love, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and he has destined us to share in that exchange.

In my short life, I have learned a few things about love. Most of them have been learned since I got over the shallow notions of romantic love that I was taught by the culture and have been truly formed by my on-going relationship with my wife and my children. For it is through those relationships that I am taught ever more deeply what this little four letter word that we take for granted really means.

Love is hard—because genuine love is always transformative. It changes you: how you think and how you act. Sometimes we pull away from that pain and change whether it comes from God or the humans closest to us.And that leads me to my second point.

I think for many of us, the hardest thing to do with love—is to receive it.

We say that God is love. And we are absolutely right.  Now all we have to do is let it into our lives…

2 thoughts on “On Love

  1. Marshall Scott

    I’ll soon have some things to say to challenge his view of pastoral care as shaped by the clinical pastoral movement. I would, however, just on the face of it challenge whether it is the “primary” model for pastoral function. CPE can, as many know, be a significant experience in formation. However, the focus is not so much what the student or the patient has “within himself” in some “spiritual-but-not-religious” sense as on what the student “brings with” himself or herself.

    Moreover, few of us do more than the 400 contact hour summer unit. I find it hard to imagine (and my experience challenges the thought) that one summer can overcome the experience of the student in formation from the original congregation. Years of preparation in one’s home congregation, followed by years of preparation in seminary, will effectively place the CPE experience in second place for all but those of us called to clinical ministry. Models of mentoring, of spiritual direction (a model that might also trouble Dr. Turner), and of pastoral counseling (which does incorporate the therapeutic in a much more explicit and concrete way than CPE) may contribute to formation for pastoral care. CPE certainly fits in there; but I would rarely call it primary.

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