Sunday, September 05, 2010

Yes, Virginia, Sometimes You Sure Can Take Things Too Literally

Over at Standing On My Head, Dwight Longenecker is proud of taking this weekend's gospel admonition (i.e., that we are to "hate" our family members in order to fully please Christ) literally.  He looks askance, predictably enough, at folks who think that particular reading should not be taken literally.  He comes close to expressing regret for the love that exists in important, familial relationships because that love does not involve God and God alone.  (How one can love a family member or friend and not have God involved at least indirectly, well, I don't know.  Is not the God we worship the very definition of love?  Where does love come from, if it is not from the ambiguous-yet-definitely-there, impossible-to-ignore frosted-glass tracings of God?)

Too many human relationships are lacking in love.  Let's not be sorry, on the basis of God's supposed jealousy, about the ones we are part of that do include love.  Lean into Christ, put nothing before him, take up your cross; that's an inevitable part of the Christian ethic.  But love your neighbor as yourself:  that's part of the same ethic, not a value we need to renounce, not a value for which we need to  hem-and-haw out an apology.

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