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.


Alice said...

When my kids had to memorize this passage for their Sunday school class, the disconnect started with me big time. I do agree that Paul's list is good...even though it's certainly not descriptive of the bible god.

Michelle said...

The MASH imagery you use is fantastic. Absolutely.

That passage with "God" spliced in was a red flag for me, too. I remember thinking it was such a joke to claim that Yahweh had even half of those attributes.

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