Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Here's One for All the Theologians . . . Or Anyone Else with a Good Guess

So my friend and I are talking about the passage that says Jesus loved his disciples the way God had loved Jesus. And I got to thinking, "What exactly are we talking about here? What does that love look like?"

For instance, Jesus was born to a young unmarried woman insuring his status as a bastard in some folks' eyes. He lived the immigrant lifestyle in his early years (good thing there wasn't a 700 mile border wall south of his homeland, huh?). If he carried that same attitude he took with the temple teachers as a young boy into the schoolyard, I'm sure all his playmates thought the whole "God complex" he had going on was just ever so endearing. And Dan Brown assertions aside, he doesn't appear to have been intimately involved with anyone of the female persuasion as he traveled around with some of the smelliest, sweatiest, stubbornest varmits he could have found. All to get to die in way we all know wasn't pleasant.

For me, that's not exactly the "look of love." I doubt many of us would sign up for that kind of fatherly attention.

So what does the God's love look like that we're supposed to be reproducing?


Gary Long said...

In my opinion, and this is only an opinion, it has everything to do with the self-limiting humility that God strapped on to walk with those varmits. It is the same self-limiting love that we strap on each time we do it to "the least of these."

I truly believe that reproducing God's love comes in the least expected ways, turning the ideologies and clamorings of this world upside down. For me it means blessing a stripper in a bar and telling her the kingdom belongs to her. For me it means "wasting" time on a confused and desperately needy guy passing through. For me it means praying the 23rd Psalm with an Alzheimer's patient hoping that something vaguely familiar will allow her haunted mind to touch something firm from what little bit of memory might remain. Those are certainly things that corporate America (and most American Consumer-Religion Churches, too) would find worthless.

Kierkegaard tells the story of thieves who break into a store at night and change the prices on things, so that the most expensive stuff is now cheap and vice versa. What looks unvalued to the unseeing eye is really of great worth. And the things that appear to be of great value causing reckless pursuit by humans are really quite trite.

The kingdom of God is really quite a paradox, ay? Oh ye who turns down weekend fun to go work in an AIDS hospice, have you looked in the mirror? That's what it looks like.

KC said...

I see where you going with this. And don't disagree. But wish I could hear more about "self-limiting humility" and "self-limiting love". Those are phrases that seemingly are clear but I'm not sure if I'm reading what you're meaning. And, I am seriously exploring this question . . . lest anyone think I had an answer and was waiting to drop it on them.

Gary Long said...

I use the term self-limiting to describe what it must have been like for the creator of the cosmos to walk around with flesh and bones, to have a bowel movement, to drink water, eat fish, etc. Philippians 2 talks about this in a really beautiful way.

I also use it to lead to a conversation about the nature of Jesus' being. Fully human? Fully divine? The paradox of Christianity is that he was both, an idea that fits the typical postmodern construct quite nicely. In Jesus' human form was all the power of the cosmos, but it was restrained in such a way as to make God approachable by humans. To do otherwise would drive us away in fear or drive us to our knees in automoton-like worship.