The Problem with the Love of God

One time I was talking to a seminary professor about a theological opinion that would seem–I guess to both of us, but in very different degrees–a bit more “permissive” than the traditional take. The professor said something like, “Usually people who hold this view use the love of God as a starting point.” I hasten to add I still hold this professor and his views in very high esteem, but he didn’t say that as if it were a good thing.

And I guess I had to disagree with at least his tone of voice that time.

The love of God is the starting point. Of everything, literally. Creation was formed out of love. And I wonder if part of the challenge of being a Jesus-follower and God-lover today is that so much of the institution that claims Him has forgotten that the love of God is where everything starts and ends, and some of us have never truly encountered that–at least in the context in which it should be most clearly found–to begin with.

And I wonder if the other challenge is that once we figure out that the love of God is the center of existence, we still don’t always know what it is. We exist in a world in which, by past and present human choice and habit, love has been twisted and misdefined, and so sometimes we are harsh and cruel and genuinely believe we’re loving–even without knowing it. And other times (or others of us), in reaction to that gaslighting, non-loving “love” allow and even defend all things with complete abandon, some of which may not actually be loving either.

Probably you are reading this and imagining that I am thinking about certain behaviors and social issues as I write the above. Probably you are right, but you may not be correct in which ones I’m thinking about. So then how do you or I or anyone know which of us really is starting with the love of God?

Published by Jennwith2ns

Jesus person. Wife and step-mom. Daughter, sister, auntie, friend. Collector of stories: mine, yours, tangible, not... Pastor of Central Baptist Church, founder and spiritual director at The Pilgrimage, and author of Trees In The Pavement and Favored One.

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