Skip to main content

More on Death and more on Love (being inadequate)

I am always badgering my students to make their reflections rooted in specific events and circumstances instead of the general sweeping statement, Clayboy's reflection on the death of one of his parishoners shows why.

Interestingly Magret Hebron also comes to the conclusion (pace the Beatles and Steve) that love does not equal Christianity, although she is coming at it from a totally different perspective than Hays, her argument ends up being remarkably similar.

Comments

  1. Well, to begin with, I shouldn't be taken even as seriously as the Beatles, much less Richard Hays or Jonathan or Margaret!

    My observation is that if we were to try to distill the energy and power of our faith into a single word (which I am not convinced is a worthy effort or even possible), it would seem to have to be love, as "boring" as that sounds -- and I agree that it sounds trite. But it's easy to arrive at love as a fundamental elemental by asking the "why" question:

    Grace.
    Why?
    Love.

    Cross.
    Why?
    Love.

    Kenosis.
    Why?
    Love.

    Redemption.
    Why?
    Love.

    Love.
    Why?
    God.

    The Calvinist, of course, would answer "God's glory" to all that, and I wouldn't necessarily disagree so long as God's glory is recognized as emanating from His nature as perfect love.

    But technically speaking, unlike Margaret you weren't asking (and Hays wasn't answering) what the basis of Christianity itself was, were you? We're looking for the motivating factor of Christian action, for Christian ethics, unless I'm much mistaken. But even in that case, I still find "love" to be at the root of it all as an integral sina qua non. The question, I think, is how we decide which actions are Christian, and to that, I don't know how "cross" (for instance) comes into it unless taken as "self-sacrifice", which is undertaken as an act of love (either love toward God or toward those for whom one the sacrifice is intended to save). The same goes for community, redemption, etc.

    So it seem to me that love is an elemental, and likely the prime (only?) elemental. Yet I can see how that would make it an inadequate answer, much like looking up a word in the dictionary and finding that word being used as its own definition. But "unifying theme" sounds abour right.

    I seem to be blathering on as though I think I'm knowledgable, but I'd really like to hear your perspective here about why (as I fully expect) I'm missing the point.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Steve, :-)
    As always, thanks for your contribution.
    I think the issue is that for you or I, conditioned as we are by our respective understandings of Jesus and the gospel, love is adequate for the unifying theme of Christianity (although Hay's first point stil stand regarding the NT, but if we are synthesising you've always got to lose some detail) and I think especially once you start dealing with Trinitarianism, love becomes even more foundational. However for those without such conditioning (i.e. most of humanity) love needs qualifying with other words, and therefore is not sufficient on its own. It needs to be reemptive love, or self giving love, love on its own it too vague and meaningless. At the very least it needs to be separated from the sort of love that our society champions: grasping, subjective, contrary, unfaithful, lusting, temporary love.

    But yeah, probably both Hays and Margret are stretching the point to make a point.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Why Dr Charles Stanley is not a biblical preacher

Unusually for me I was watching the tele early on Sunday morning and I caught an episode of Dr Charles Stanley preaching on his television program. Now I know this guy has come under some criticism for his personal life, and that is not unimportant, but it is also not something i can comment on, not knowing the facts. His preaching is however something I can comment on, at least the one sermon I did watch.

He started off by reading 2 Timothy 1:3-7. Which is a passage from the Bible, so far so good. He then spent the next 30 minutes or so talking about his mum and what a great example of a Christian mother she was. Now nothing he said or suggested was wrong, but none of it actually came from scripture, least of all the scripture he read from at the beginning. It was a lovely talk on how Stanley's mother raised him as a Christian despite considerable difficulties and it contained many useful nuggets of advice on raising Christian kids. All very nice, it might have made a nice…

The false link between suicide and mental illness

One characteristic of human society is the tendency to keep doing something over and over again despite it not working. One example would be our approach to incarcerating criminals to punish them instead of rehabilitating them, compounding their trauma and making it harder for them to live productive law-abiding lives when they get out. But this is the "common-sense" approach, the intuitive human response to the failings of others, punish them and they wont dare do it again. It has never worked, ever, but let's keep doing it. Secular society is screwed because it cannot comprehend that its vision is blurred by sin and therefore knee-jerk, common sense solutions are usually destructive and counter-productive.

So it is with our response to suicide. To kill yourself must be the response of the weak minded and sick - so the thinking goes - so to combat rising suicide we treat individuals medically. Yet suicide is a perfectly rational response to a world as broken as ours and…

The Addictive Power of End Times Speculation

The mighty Rhett Snell has picked up his blog again (I wonder how long he'll last this time), check out his theory on why people get so into annoyingly unbiblical end times nonsense.

I think that where codes-and-calendars end times theology is dangerous, is that it can give a sense of false growth. We read a theory online, or hear it from some bible teacher, and we come to think that we have mastered an area of our faith. A bit like levelling up in a computer game, or Popeye after he’s eaten some spinach. At worst, we begin to believe that we’ve taken a step that other Christians have not; that we’ve entered an elite class of Christianity.