Interesting Scribbles

Love, Life, Mercy

August 12, 2017

Notes from a talk by Christopher West on August 4, 2017 at Theology on Tap.

If we let it sink in how much we’re treated as disposable or replaceable, it would make us weep. But instead, we let that brush the surface and laugh. It’s truth though — are you one in a 500 million in a lineage of miracles. One change in that and you would not exist. You are the fruit of love, not a dispensable repeatable replaceable commodity.

What are the odds you and I would live at the same time? And beyond that, that we would be in the same place? Getting to meet you is a 1-in-7-billion times eons-long privilege, and unrepeatable.

The opposite of love is to be toyed with — to be used and then thrown away.

“Do you see me?”

How did we get here? I think we can trace it to a faulty vision of freedom and love.

Freedom. Our culture talks a lot of freedom, especially sexual freedom. If it feels good, do it — do what you want, when you want.

That looks a whole lot more like addiction — never saying no to your urges.

Love and Responsibility: “Freedom exists for the sake of love.” Freedom, then, is meant to be spent on love.

If what I call love only hits repeatable qualities — hair color, personality, and so on — it hasn’t reached the inner quality of that person. If my love has reached the mystery of the person, then it’s on solid footing. Then it deepens and grows with age.

Let’s contrast the Hollywood notion of “good sex”, intense physical pleasure with that personal exchange of a couple married for 50 years. Not just giving the naked body but giving the naked, unprotected self.

Mature love is a love for the person as he or they are she is, not as we imagine them to be. Such love’s strength is revealed most clearly when the other person stumbles.

Hook-up culture — sex, but holding hands is too intimate? Desperately afraid that, if we take off the mask, we would be rejected. Mature love is a love for the person behind the mask.

Real freedom versus false freedom, also “license”. Do what is/feels good. From compulsion to indulge in compulsion.

If you only indulge in sexual compulsion, eventually you become adept at manipulating others to give you what you want. And we call that love?

Change from license to love is painful. Pain is a good and useful thing. The pain from touching a hot stove limits how much we get burned.

Addiction and compulsion — if you can’t say no, your yes means nothing.

It scares me that my daughters are growing up in a world where, statistically, their husband will be addicted to porn. Porn teaches us that people are replaceable. Stop it. Stop making excuses.

As a parent, how do you not get overwhelmed by the burden of raising kids in this word? I have no idea. But we’re not God — and we can start by giving Him permission to work on us.

“They look, but do not see; they hear but do not understand.”

Behind the face of every person you meet is a story that would make you weep. Remember that the next time you’re tempted.

License — freedom to sin. Freedom is from sin. (Lust is after a commodity, love is of a person.)

Seeing the law/sin as a tyrant, imposed on us.

Ethic — the law and command. Ethos — the interior state. You have heard (ethic) but I tell you (ethos). Jesus is after our hearts, not just about imposing a law from outside.

Freedom to fulfill the law because you no longer desire to break it. We are only bitter towards the law when we desire to break it.

In the beginning, they didn’t need a command not to commit adultery — not just because there were only two of them, but because the law was written on their hearts.

Instead of trying to deform the law down to my heart’s level, bringing the heart up to the level of God’s law. To the point that breaking it is as repulsive as murdering your own wife.

“If today you hear God’s voice, harden not your heart.”

God isn’t a jerk — He will knock and knock but never just barge in.

A sure norm for growing — ask yourself which of God’s laws you still need. Be real and honest with God. Ask where He was in the pain, and what He wants to give you instead.

When we take off our mask, it hurts.

The body is a parable — at the beginning of everything that exists is life-giving love.

Nothing in this world lasts forever. Every good pleasure, though made by God, ends and fades. Every person you know and love will die. Only one thing lasts forever — the love of God for His church. The love of Christ for you. That was before, and it is now, and it will still be, long after all else is gone.