Sunday Thoughts

by

by Al Sturgeon
(published each week in Desperate Houseflies)

DEFINING LOVE

Well, it’s Father’s Day as I sit here to write, and several stereotypes come to mind. I’m suspecting that Sears put up some strong sales numbers this past week, and I’m betting that golf courses had their share of patrons, too. I imagine there were lots of steaks sold at lunch today, and that at least someone has a brand new tie. Those are all pretty safe bets.

On the other hand, I bet this week was a downer for the floral industry, and in spite of the holiday, I’m just sure Lifetime had some movie on where a man did something really wrong. These are just my suspicions.

Stereotypes are useful and dangerous and lots of other adjectives, too. When it comes to religion, however, one really important stereotype of men comes to mind. I’m talking VERY important…

Men are portrayed as lots of things, among which you find the idea we aren’t very fond of the word “love.” Part of this is bogus of course, since men are reportedly in love with their trucks, their hunting dogs, their favorite sports teams, and most foods high in cholesterol. Still, the picture comes to mind of a man stuttering because he just can’t bring himself to say the “L” word. I’ve watched enough television to understand the popular opinion.

I find this very important since Jesus identifies love as the center of everything that matters. If we are to follow Jesus, we are to love God and everyone else above all. All people will be able to identify us as Jesus-followers, in fact, by none other than love.

And this is popularly portrayed as something I wouldn’t do, given my particular gender. All of this combines, of course, to leave my buddies and I in a pickle. Either we are forced to buck the system, be un-manly, and live a life based on love anyway. Or not.

But maybe there’s a third option. Maybe (and I’m going with this maybe), the definition of love is so screwed up that we don’t even recognize it anymore, much less be able to depend on its stereotype.

In spite of my grammatical weaknesses, I believe definitions are very important. Because of this, I believe we need to recapture the definition of love. We need to rescue it from our cultural setting, redefine it in God’s terms, and actually USE IT in those ways. It would be impossible to underestimate the significance of doing just that. To follow God, it is something we have to do.

So here’s my question: Using our current vocabulary, how would you put into words a definition of the love Jesus talks about being central to everything His followers are to do?

Note #1: I’ve read C.S. Lewis’s book (The Four Loves) and heard my share of Greek sermons on agape, eros, phileo, and storge. I’m not downplaying those, just stating that you don’t have to rehearse those for me/us. I’m just wanting some honest attempts at giving us a working definition that is useful in our contemporary setting.

Note #2: I don’t think I’ll be near a computer all week long. Please comment as much as you’d like – and I can’t wait to read the comments – but I probably won’t respond this week. Please comment anyway.

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3 Responses to “Sunday Thoughts”

  1. juvenal_urbino Says:

    Recognize in each person you meet the image of God. Behave accordingly.

  2. Al Sturgeon Says:

    Only one comment. But I think the one is tremendous.

    I’ll take quality over quantity when it comes to questions such as this…

  3. DeJon Says:

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