Christian essays on love

Defined by feeling- "I love you" means I feel a certain warmth, desire, or affinity for you. Compatible with feeling- "I love you" may sometimes mean a feeling, but it always means a commitment to serve. Jesus may not have felt desire or warmth toward the soldiers who flogged him, but he died for them anyway. Can't be controlled- Love has to happen, so I can't be expected to choose to love someone.

Therefore, love, or lack of love, is not a moral issue-. Can be controlled- Christian love is based on personal choice and commitment. Depends on the other person- He or she must be attractive or lovely enough to elicit a love response in me. Self-affirming- Love is a good feeling and must be two-way.

I Corinthians We had the same nightly ritual that we do now. I will love you … in the summertime.

About Love, Divine and Human: Contemporary Essays in Systematic and Philosophical Theology

I have told this to a couple of people who thought it was heartbreaking, but I was so proud, I thought my heart would burst. I will love you in the summertime. What a piercing poetic thing to say—at two years old. And for weeks I thought about it. A year later, just after that dream I related above, I even wrote a poem about it. Which is to say, given the charmed life we were living there in Seattle and all the grace and grief that my wife and I felt ourselves moving through at every second: I will love you in the time where there is time for everything, which is now and always.

I will love you in the time when time is no more. No, I do not. But do I think that sometimes life and language break each other open to change, that a rupture in one can be a rapture in the other, that sometimes there are, as it were, words underneath the words—even the very Word underneath the words?

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Yes, I do. When Jesus says that you must become as little children in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, he is not suggesting that you must shuck all knowledge and revert to an innocence—or, worse, a state of helpless dependence—that you have lost or outgrown. The operative word in the injunction is become.

Spiritual innocence is not beyond knowledge but inclusive of it, just as it is of joy and love, despair and doubt. For the hardiest souls, even outright atheism may be an essential element. To ripen into childhood, as Bruno Schulz puts it. It has been my experience that most adults will either smile wryly at this and immediately agree, or roll their eyes and lament the existence of this benighted superstition that pretzels intelligence into these pointless knots, this zombie zeal that will not die.

It has also been my experience that there are on this earth two little children who, if told this koan by a father inclined to linguistic experiments, will separately walk over to the mirror and declare that in fact, Daddy, they can see their own eyeballs. I know just what she means.

Love, Divine and Human: Contemporary Essays in Systematic and Philosophical Theology

The trouble, though, as her own life and mind illustrate, is that, just as there are simple and elegant equations that emerge only at the end of what seems like a maze of complicated mathematics, so there are truths that depend upon the very contortions they untangle. Every person has to earn the clarity of common sense, and every path to that one clearing is difficult, circuitous, and utterly, painfully individual.

As for myself, I have found faith not to be a comfort but a provocation to a life I never seem to live up to, an eruption of joy that evaporates the instant I recognize it as such, an agony of absence that assaults me like a psychic wound. As for my children, I would like them to be free of whatever particular kink there is in me that turns every spiritual impulse into anguish. Failing that, I would like them to be free to make of their anguish a means of peace, for themselves or others or both , with art or action or both.

Failing that—and I suppose, ultimately, here in the ceaseless machinery of implacable matter, there is only failure—I would like them to be able to pray, keeping in mind the fact that, as St. Anthony of the Desert said, a true prayer is one that you do not understand. Typically cryptic, God said three weasels slipping electric over the rocks one current conducting them up the tree by the river in the woods of the country into which I walked away and away and away; and a moon-blued, cloud-strewn night sky like an x-ray with here a mass and there a mass and everywhere a mass; and to the tune of a two-year-old storm of atoms elliptically, electrically alive— I will love you in the summertime, Daddy.

Once in the west I lay down dying to see something other than the dying stars so singularly clear, so unassailably there, they made me reach for something other.

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I said I will not bow down again to the numinous ruins. I said I will not violate my silence with prayer. I said Lord, Lord in the speechless way of things that bear years, and hard weather, and witness. Comments powered by Disqus. If we feel justified in "venting" our feelings, even though they are unedifying or even destructive to others, we are practicing a selfish form of love alien to the Bible.

Likewise, if we demand that others express certain emotions in certain ways we violate the concept of sacrificial love mentioned above. These are love demands, which are antithetical to the notion of self-giving. On the other hand, we might find it appropriate to take loved ones to task for their lack of emotional expression, but only if such confrontation is for his own good. Anyone who cannot express caring emotion has a problem with will inhibit relationships. Therefore as seen earlier, we may be moved by the principle of discipline in love to approach others with their need to change lest their own relationship perhaps including the ones with us suffer.

When helping people to relate maturely, we can refer to "love spheres. Two terms are used to describe this area: the Tribal love sphere, and the Diffuse love sphere. Some people form relatively few relationships and remain in those relationships as long as possible, even if they are destructive. Such people usually selfishly cling to old relationships because they find the process of building new relationships burdensome or even frightening.

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In extreme though not unusual cases, some people's circle of relationships is no larger than the nuclear family. The term tribalistic comes from oral cultures where members of other tribes are often viewed as sub-human. Tribes commonly use the same word for both the name of their tribe and for "human being. Relationships with outsiders are usually limited to a very superficial level involving business or diplomacy. Many Westerners demonstrate the same mentality, defining their family as their "tribe.

Organic Discipleship - A Biblical Model for Love Relationships | Xenos Christian Fellowship

People outside the tribe are treated virtually like symbols rather than actual people. Meanwhile, relationships within the tribe are expected to completely meet all relational needs. Such expectations are really love demands, and other family members may feel burdened and suffocated because they can never fulfill such demands. When tribalistic people need to form new relationships perhaps because one's tribe is gone , this presents a serious problem. Overly tribalistic people will have difficulty forming new relationships, reaching out to the lost with God's love, using their gifts in ministry, and valuing people outside the tribe.

When we try to help people relate maturely, we realize some people naturally lean toward a tribalistic pattern of relating. Strangely, we observe that narrowness in relational life is often connected to a general narrowness or rigidity in most areas of life. Tribalism in non-relational areas of life is called "functional tribalism. Therefore, tribalistic people tend to live with a great deal of routine in their lives. The same schedule every week and every day will tend to be comforting to the tribalistic person, while not knowing what is going to happen next causes anxiety.

The diffuse person see below would feel trapped by the same routine that makes tribal people feel secure.

For functionally tribal people, messiness is very disturbing, while a diffuse person often has no problem with messiness. The tribalist's insistence on a strict routine may interfere with the need to adapt to new conditions at work or elsewhere. In extreme cases, the tribalist may eventually lose the ability to function in any but one way. This desire for predictability may lead to a form of relating based on controlling loved ones.


The tribal person may interpret another's submission to their control as love. Yet, as the love feelings resulting from control of, let's say, the other's schedule wears off, the tribal lover feels the need to exert further control in other areas just to keep up the same feelings. Those who love tribalists may end up jumping through incredible hoops to avoid punishment.

In marriage, this desire for control may also result in a variety of sexual dysfunctions. These could range from the need to have sex in only one way, to complete frigidity or impotence when the person feels unable to enter into an intimate, yet uncontrollable situation requiring improvisation and vulnerability. Paradoxically, some tribalists may come to interpret their spouses agreeing to sex as submitting to control. They then may begin to constantly demand sex as a sign of love.

Control is a key word for understanding the tribalistic love sphere. Extreme tribalists often develop control-related neuroses. Various phobic complexes can result from the inability of the tribalist to control some aspects of the environment. Family members who realize that they are expected to meet all of the tribalist's needs often feel repelled. Ironically, tribalists often end up with quite alienated relationships even within their own tribe. The in-grown environment breeds relational ill-health, in-fighting, and simmering resentments.

Hysterical episodes sometimes afflict extreme tribalists who feel they are losing control. The diffuse person is the opposite of the tribalistic. Diffuse people demonstrate a tendency to become quickly involved in a new relationship, and to immediately feel "close.

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Relationships tend to become "boring. Of course, even tribalistic people may decide to form new relationships in some cases, but the diffuse do so much more often. The result is usually a series of superficial relationships. In extreme cases, diffuse people may never actually form any relationships at all.

They may simply meet people and interact on a sub-relational level, seeking stimulation which they interpret as love. Lack of stimulation leads to boredom, restlessness and often resentment toward loved ones. Diffuse people may find stimulation in either the functional area video games or job changes or in the relational area moving from one romance to another. When working with people to achieve balance and maturity in their relational lives, we may refer to the stimulation sought by diffuse people as "present love feelings.

But we know that they really long for present love feelings--the present sense of being loved. Present love feelings are evident when teenagers "fall in love. Anything else is an unsatisfying imitation of the real thing.