Two Reponses: On Love, Belief, and Doubt

Last post I assumed you knew what Paul wrote about love. To be clear, Paul defines love as follows: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (1 Cor. 13:4-7 NIV). For myself, I cannot make sense of things without comparisons. In this discussion of love, then, I have to remind myself that nowhere does Paul mention fleeting sentiments or reactions to stimuli. Love is a matter of the will, it appears. This is why we recognize Paul’s writing as the inspired Word of God, not merely a precursor to Webster’s dictionary.

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Why do I write about faith?

After my second home printer broke some years ago, I vowed to never buy another printer. I told myself I would just head to Staples or illicitly use the printer at work if I ever needed one. Now that I’m living on campus, I just walk over to the library and use the printers that are sure to work.

Why do I write about faith?

The other day when I was at said library I couldn’t help but notice what I normally notice while I’m surrounded by Christians.

Why do I write about faith?

Maybe it’s because I’m used to being around Air Force pilots, or maybe it’s the impression that the manliest men of all–oilfield roughnecks–made upon my person.

Why do I write about faith?

I once worked in a high-end litigation support company who supported the best attorneys in town; maybe it’s that experience.

Why do I write about faith?

You see, at the seminary’s library, I immediately noticed a person because they were obese in a comically disproportionate manner. They were so lumpy and their clothing was as unflattering as imaginable. Their condition was such that they couldn’t rightly walk; God forbid they ever need to get anywhere quickly.

Why do I write about faith?

Next, another individual approached and I was sure to break my stare as their eyes settled upon mine. This person had some sort of physical handicap that resulted in a pronounced limp and what I perceived to be a healthy dose of embarrassment.

Why do I write about faith?

I am not proud of these reactions. I find them repulsive, repugnant, and reprehensible.

Why do I write about faith?

The fact remains, however, that when I take note of the Christians here on campus–the very Christians preparing to lead the faith–I often cannot avoid making the cynical judgement, “These are the people of God? The future does not look bright.”

Why do I write about faith?

Because these are the people of God. Because I can find no greater hope than what is promised to those who respond to God’s relentless pursuit of loving relationship with his creation–you and me.

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So that I can faithfully count this post as contemplation of humility, let me add that Christian humility involves emptying yourself (myself) of self. Not emptying because self is illusory, but emptying in order that the very real God “may be all in all.” Staring at the coming crucifixion, it was Jesus the Christ who exemplified humility when he prayed, “Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

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God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

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One comment

  1. noelleg44

    Nicely said, Pete. I just attended yet another wedding where 1 Corinthians was read. For my daughter’s wedding, I read a poem by Maya Anjelou:
    Touched by an Angel

    We, unaccustomed to courage
    exiles from delight
    live coiled in shells of loneliness
    until love leaves its high holy temple
    and comes into our sight
    to liberate us into life.

    Love arrives
    and in its train come ecstasies
    old memories of pleasure
    ancient histories of pain.
    Yet if we are bold,
    love strikes away the chains of fear
    from our souls

    We are weaned from our timidity
    In the flush of love’s light
    we dare be brave
    And suddenly we see
    that love costs all we are
    and will ever be.
    Yet it is only love
    which sets us free

    Another favorite is Still I Rise.

    Liked by 1 person

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