Love Matters -

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket — safe, dark, motionless, airless — it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside of Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.” 

- C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

‘The church’s manifestation in time of the glories that are yet to come is not accomplished in the gift of tongues, nor even in prophecy, giving, teaching. It is accomplished in love…. The greatest evidence that heaven has invaded our sphere, that the Spirit has been poured out upon us, that we are citizens of a kingdom not yet consummated, is Christian love.’
- D.A. Carson, Showing the Spirit, p. 76

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
- 1 Cor. 13:1-3 

How do we learn to love well? We may have an inclination of affections or grand feelings of inducements towards others, but it seems that to love well the purity of unvarnished affection must come from outside of ourselves. How do we love well without example, or without demonstration toward us? It seems to me that to love well is to apprehend, if even in a small way, love demonstrated to us. Luke tells a scandalous story in chapter 7 about a woman who loved well. She was a woman with a ruined reputation...no social ranking, no reputation, no reason for anyone to take notice; a woman who was known by every scurrilous epithet. Luke doesn't fill in all of the blanks, but we can safely say that her notoriety was common knowledge. Hers was the name whispered in impolite company. Kept in the shadows and never seen for her humanity, she had become a stain on the community. And yet Jesus saw her condition and her lostness and He loved her. Her transformation from a great sinner to one who loved well was nothing short of miraculous. In that moment the offscouring became the much-loved. The solitary was placed into a family. Others looked on and missed the point, but she got it. She loved well because she experienced Love first hand. Forgiveness Incarnate came to her and she was loved. For the first time in her life she was really and truly loved.  And out of love demonstrated to her she then loved well. Mark this my friends, when Love apprehends us a transformation takes place. Loving others well is the inevitable byproduct of being loved by Another in demonstrated, true, genuine gospel love.

Because of love shown, desiring to love well,

(An adaptation of a blog first written in September 2009)


That Nagging Abortion Thing -

One of the greatest indicators of the church’s commitment to the pro-life cause is whether she will commit herself to becoming dissatisfied with the status quo. Let’s face it; the abortion debate has been around a long time. The destruction of human life far precedes the recent videos, and yet heretofore the cost to the church has been minimal.  It is one thing to vote for pro-life candidates and put bumper stickers on our minivans, and quite another to materially help a young woman with an unwanted pregnancy as she struggles to get on her feet. The pro-life battle comes much closer to home when we invite the stranger into our own living room. To adopt a child is to invest in something far greater than creature comforts, and at the time it's much more difficult to see a return on our investment. It’s a matter of historical record that the early Christians were pro-life, believing that God was the giver of every life. When Roman citizens looked for ways to dispose of unwanted children it was the Christian communities that took them in and raised them as their own. The early church saw the risk and took it. They knew the way of the cross was costly, particularly for their Lord, but they also knew the servant is no greater than the Master.  

As long as the church loves her ease and eschews her discomfort it’s likely the pro-life battle will be consigned to a passive yawn. We’ll soon forget the videos and settle back into the routine. You see…to care is to commit time and resources. To care is to cast comfort to the wind. To care is to make hard choices. And frankly, there is a certain risk to it all, and risk is…well, it’s risky. As long as the church is satisfied with where she’s at there will be little light and little salt, and we shouldn’t wonder why the world then looks at us with eyes aglaze and yawns.


September 2, 2015