Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Facebook Faith #56 - St. Paul Set The Bar of Love Well

A friend on Facebook posted this page earlier today.  In general, I like it.  I think it is useful, not only for reflecting on potential life long partners, but it can be applied to ourselves as well.  I think that Paul, in 1 Corinthians 13, does a first rate job of describing love.

The interesting thing is that this practice - inserting the name of a potential life partner into the text - was a maneuver that significantly destabilized my faith.  Like the author of the shared page, I tried inserting my God in place of the word Love in 1 Corinthians 13:
  • God is patient
  • God is kind
  • God does not envy
  • God does not boast
  • God is not proud
  • God is not rude
  • God is not self-seeking
  • God is not easily angered
  • God keeps no record of wrongs
  • God does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth
  • God always protects
  • God always trusts
  • God always hopes
  • God always perseveres
  • God never fails
As I looked at that list, I realized that 1 Corinthians 13 did not describe the God of my evangelical heritage.  The God I found in the Bible was like this list sometimes, but certainly not all of the time. In fact, the more I investigated the Bible, the more I found that the god of those pages failed this test miserably.

For a while, I clung to a God that met the love standard.  So what if the god of my sacred text didn't measure up.  I could ignore the text, ignore the proclamations of other believers, ignore my own doubts.  I was like Hawkeye in MASH, desperately pounding on the chest of a dead man, clinging to the hope that my desperation could revive this patient.  I pounded on that chest for a few years.

In the end, I realized that 1 Corinthians 13 is a good list.  Paul had a moment of enlightenment and tapped into something exceptional.

Love is all of those things and is a worthy pursuit for its own sake.
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