This is a follow-up to my Rethinking Idols post from last night.
36"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" 37Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." (Matthew 22)
"Love isn't some discrete thing or feeling that you have or don't have. There's not a thing-y quality to it. It's not at all static. I'm not even sure if it's simply something you do or you don't do. It's more like, are you involved with an other or are you not? -- with all the tons of things being involved means.
I don't think love is one sort of feeling you have, or even one sort of action. It's like communion. It's being all tangled up, in a mess even, more than maintaining a stable position toward someone. Love is not unconditional positive regard. Who could ever live with someone and have that?
Worshiping an idol is far simpler and less chaotic and more consistently pleasant than tangling with an uncontrollable other. Idolatry makes the mundane sacred. It's something that can give you a sense of equanimity and make you feel good, instead of something that wracks your gut and involves all your heart and all your soul and all your mind, which, c'mon, just has to involve a lot of craziness and darkness and blindness and anger and, I guess, just about everything we are -- animal meanness, beautiful sweetness, sickness and blood and unbelievable gorgeousness.....It's surprising that the Bible talks so much about what we have with God as love. From a lot of what you hear, you might expect God to be above all that. Perfectly holy, beyond such sordid and ignoble goings-on, removed from this messy tangle, and untouchable. But to say that God is wholly Other doesn't mean that God is unrelated, far away. Ungraspable, uncategorizable, yes, but not untouchable. That God is Other doesn't mean that God resides far away in a castle in the sky wearing white gloves, peering down his nose at us from his faraway perch.
Reading the Bible, you get the impression that faith in God, relationship with God, is more an intimate sort of tangling with the uncontrollable, even unnamable Yahweh than a neat solution or a removed worship. Jacob wrestles, Abraham haggles, the Israelites resist, the prophets wail and beat their chests.
To believe in a God who actually lives and is actually in relationship to us is much weirder than believing in an ideology. More uncomfortable, perhaps even slightly absurd. So I think a lot of times the church makes loving God seem more like the coherent simplicity of worshiping an idol, something that can be neatly prescribed."
What do you think? Is love/relationship/God more about getting tangled up together or a prescribed set of rules, rituals, tradition, dogmas? Do you agree with the author's "definition" of love? How do YOU define love?
Quotes (everything purple) by Debbie Blue in From Stone to Living Word, pgs. 27-29