God’s Love, prt. 1

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Image courtesy of Jennuine Captures, licensed under Creative Commons

Today I am beginning a four-part series explaining my theology, which is based on God’s unconditional and never-ending love for us. This is theology, so it uses a lot of scripture passages, and I realize there are many passages I do not use that create questions of interpretation. This is always the case in any theology. My intention with using scriptures is merely to show that my theology has deep Biblical roots. Then I will use other analogies, comparisons, illustrations, and arguments to show that it is compelling, common-sense, and — further — the only theology that will not leave us practicing love in a confused and half-hearted way.

I believe God is love.Scripture is clear on this point, and Jesus was clearer on this point than almost anything else he said. That is where I begin. It is not that the rest of scripture is irrelevant to me, it’s just that — if God is indeed a God of love — the rest of the Bible must be interpreted in the light of God’s love. Of course one may ask, “Why do you choose the parts of scripture that mention God’s love over all the other parts? What about the God’s wrath, anger, and vengeance?” My reply to that question is worked out in the rest of this post. This is my theology of love.

My theology of love is very much centered in what we can already know about love as parents. If you were to say to your children, “Repent, for your mother/father is near,” what would this mean? Would your love be dependent on their repentance? Would you love them any less if they did NOT repent? Of course not. Your love is the constant in this equation. You ask them to repent so they can know, experience, and live in this love connection with you. I believe that spiritual repentance is the same — God asks us to repent so we can know, experience, and live in this love connection between God and us. As I sat next to my daughter in the hospital last summer after her attempted suicide, the greatest source of pain in all of it was the chaos and pain she had been living in, despite how deeply loved she was. Her lack of understanding of this love had nearly catastrophic consequences in her life, and ours too.

Email subscriptions fixed

I became aware earlier today that the email subscription feature on my site has not been working. Apparently it broke when my domain name changed a couple weeks ago. I am sorry for the inconvenience. That problem and the problems I have been having with CommentLuv are both fixed, and my e-book The Spiritual Journey has received some editing and freshening up.

I am sorry for the inconvenience. Please let me know of any problems you run into on my site and I will attend to them as quickly as possible. Thank you.

Book Update

BOOK UPDATE

Worked on my book for hours last night. Progress went well. Still two chapters left. It is getting very dense, because it’s starting to wrap up, and I am doing a ton of edits and organization on it.

My plan is to have all the chapters written by next Tuesday (one week from today) and have my proposal submitted. Then I will begin the process of second editing, where I’ll comb back through the whole book and start incorporating many/most of the ideas my two awesome editors (thanks Gina and Sheryl) generously submitted to me.

Many of you have asked a lot of questions about the book and are really excited about it. Thank you so much for supporting my work, and I’m sorry progress has slowed down so dramatically. I promise I haven’t quit, and I’m still in the game. I will submit more excerpts (teasers) from the book here on my website tomorrow.

Looking for “My People”

mypeople

Image courtesy of James Cridland, licensed under Creative Commons

The blog is doing well. Thanks to those of you who have supported my work, whether on the blog, on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or whatever. The blog was only for me for the first year or so, when it was more personal journal than anything else. Now it is for you. It is to help you with your marriage, your fears, your dreams, your spirituality, and whatever else I can help you with.

A few weeks ago someone new began following me on Twitter. When I thanked her for the follow, she said she had checked out my Twitter profile, and that “it feels good to find my people.” That has stuck with me since (thanks, Donna), and that is what I am looking for, every post, every tweet, every day — I am looking for my people. It seems my people may have some of the following characteristics:  

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Learning to Love

love

Image courtesy of Live Life Happy, licensed under Creative Commons

Here are core assumptions I am working under for this post:

  1. The church has generally done a pretty lousy job being a force of love in the world (not that there are not some exceptions, thank God).
  2. Though some individuals are unloving on purpose, most individuals are doing the best they can.
  3. Christian leaders are the cause of much of the problem with not loving. They can also be the solution.

The church’s history as a witness of love in the world is not good. Millions of Christians who have ended up being on the wrong side of history — big time — were sincere in their beliefs, no matter how toxic. I believe that we Christian leaders are the cause of many of the church’s problems with not loving. If church congregations today are full of people who are hateful, or even simply dismissive, toward gays, for example, it is almost certainly either because their leaders are the same way, or at least do not aggressively teach that lack of love is unacceptable, and fundamentally incompatible with the Lord we claim to serve.

My title stems from centuries of inexcusable failure of those who call themselves “the people of God” to love, or even to simply refrain from committing and supporting atrocities — things that directly and dramatically contradict the teachings of our Lord. This failure continues to this day, when we are genuinely, sincerely confused over whether or not we should refrain from openly wounding the gay community further, after they have told us for a least a generation that we are deeply hurting and alienating even those gays who would like to pursue a connection with God through a local Christian church. It continues when Christians defend people like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson who consistently say idiotic and hurtful things. It continues when our Christian leaders teach that yes, God is loving BUT…(and then whatever comes after).

If you are feeling defensive and upset because of what you have heard so far, I invite you to stop reading. Because,  

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