Archive for September 8th, 2009

September 8, 2009

[Morning Walk] The Offense of Love: 1 Corinthians 13

by Bethany

Today’s Readings: 2 Samuel 2, 1 Corinthians 13

First Corinthians 13 – frequently known as “The Love Chapter” – is one of the most well-known chapters in the Bible because it is so commonly invoked at wedding ceremonies. Yet, for all its romantic language, it’s quite offensive.

Two examples:

(1) Lovedoes not brag and is not arrogant.” v. 4. NASB. Everyone loves to be made much of. We love to hear compliments, but we hate to hear criticism. As a result, we either (a) boast or brag by touting our own strengths or accomplishments, or (b) express self-pity by drawing people’s attention to how bad things have gone for us. Either method, however, is arrogant: boasting is the form of pride in the heart of the strong and self-pity is the form of pride in the heart of the weak. In order to show love, therefore, we must kill our desire to be made much of. This death is offensive to our natural selves.

(2) Lovedoes not seek its own.” v. 5. NASB. Everyone loves their own preferences. Although we may seek happiness as a preference, we should challenge the foundation of our happiness. We should be so deeply transformed in what makes us happy that – rather than being happy based on our own material and limited preferences without respect to what others need – we should be others-oriented and find our joy in the happiness of others. We should kill our love for the dominance of our own preferences. This death is offensive to our natural selves.

Most of us focus on the beauty of 1 Corinthians 13 – rather than its offense – because we see it as aspirational. For Jesus, however, the offense and beauty of love was reality. His love for us took him to the cross for our sins. Rather than being arrogant, he voluntarily took the nature of a servant. Rather than seeking after his own, he became obedient to the will of God – even though it led him to death on a cross. Philippians 2:5-11.  

What is your understanding of love? Is it just romantic, or is it also offensive?

September 8, 2009

[843 acres] IN THE NEWS – 9.8.09

by Bethany
  • Was Jesus simply a great man or was he himself God incarnate? Children’s writer Philip Pullman, in his  new book entitled “The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ,” argues that Jesus was merely a good man and all the hocus pocus about him being divine was made up by the Apostle Paul. His reasoning is flawed, however, because Jesus himself claimed to be God both directly (see, e.g., John 14:7-10, Mark 14:61b-62) and indirectly(see, e.g., John 10:31-33, Luke 5:17-26).
  • How does environmentalism match up with Jesus’ summary of the entire law (Matthew 22:36-40: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”)? Should that command be replaced by, “Do unto the Earth as you would have the Earth do unto you”? [Washington Post]. Must these be inconsistent?
  • Our own wilfull blindness to our own shortcomings can get us in serious trouble in economics [New York Times Magazine, How Did Economists Get It So Wrong?]  and in our personal lives [James 1:22-24: Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.]
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