Primitive religion is not believed, it is danced!

Arthur Darby Nock

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Elizabeth Browning

Saturday, November 6, 2021

Love wastefully

Those who are cowards will ask, “Is it safe?”

Those who are political will ask, “Is it expedient?”

Those who are vain will ask, “Is it popular?”

Those who have a conscience will ask “Is it right?”

(Paul Washington, quoted by Stephanie Speller, The Church Cracked Open)


Perhaps we need to go one step further


Those who are godly will ask “Is it love?”


The ultimate question is this. 

What value shapes our decisions?

What value determines how we shall than live?


There are many appropriate considerations.

It is not wrong to consider safety, or effectiveness, or rightness.

It is not even wrong to consider popularity!  Who wants to be disliked?


But the real question is which value dominates?


If safety dominates, we can end up being guarded. We can be driven into behaviors that create pain in the world.  We can hug resources to ourselves.  We can pack guns.  We can refuse to welcome the stranger.


If expediency dominates, we can become efficient but in our efficiency use and abuse, and create collateral damage.  Employees who are overworked and underpaid.  An earth that is devastated by our effective plunder.


The drive to be popular can lead us to become slaves to our cultures, and cause us to abandon our true selves.


Even “rightness” has its issues.  The is nothing worse than cold unthinking rightness which judges and moves so quickly to punishment and retribution. 


It seems as though any value, no matter how lofty, can become toxic if we forget to add the ingredient of love.


Safety become exclusion.

Expediency becomes indifference.

Popularity becomes enslaving.

Rightness becomes cruelty.


We cannot forget that God is love.

That God lavishes us with love.

That God calls us to love.

Not just to love, but to “love wastefully.”  (John Shelby Spong)


The greatest value of all, the value that makes us great,

is love.

Love changes everything.


So we have to think love, feel love, and live love

For that is how we heal the world

That is how we are truly safe, truly effective, truly valued, truly right.


Someone once said,

“Love is donating a chunk of your life to patch up holes in the life of another.”


Love is how we patch up the holes in our fragmented disintegrating world.


So let us love.



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