Love and Logic
February 28th, 2008 by Sonja

Among the many treasures I brought back from the quilt show seems to be a nasty cold virus.  So I’ve been spending an inordinate amount of time in my nest on the sofa.  Sometimes I’m trying very hard to concentrate and read … anything.  Other times I give up and watch television and stitch.  I’m getting tired of listening to the mindless chatter coming from the schoolroom.  The LightChildren do not talk with one another, the words just dribble out of their mouths at one another with no purpose.  They are not listening to each other, nor is one responding to the other.  They are each simply speaking the words which cross their brains at the moment.  Ugh.

Among the few blog posts I’ve managed to read were this one by VikingFru; she called her post Us vs. Them.  I think many of us have written similar posts at one time or another when we’ve become burdened by the ugliness we see in the world.   I’ve spent quite a bit of my stitching time thinking about her post and meditating on how our culture has gotten to this place.  I remember a song by Talking Heads and the line “How did I get here?” keeps running through my head.  How did we get here?  How did we get to this place where it’s sooo important to be right?  So important that we’re willing to kill for it?

We are you know.  We are willing to kill people to prove that we’re right.  We do it every day.  Each and every one of us.  We imagine that we’re helping them out. We imagine that we’re helping them to “see the light.”  We think we’re giving them truth, light and beauty.  But really, we’re just trying to be more right than the other person.  We’re trying to win.

There are some beautiful souls who are pure enough that they can say they are trying to spread light without harm.  But most of us are trying to win the argument.  Especially when it comes to the blog-o-sphere.

I can’t parse out the twists and turns of how we got here.  But I do know for certain that it’s not the example that Jesus set for us.  Here are two …

The story of the rich young ruler and the story of the woman at the well in Samaria.

They are both so well known I’m not going to reprint them here.

In the story of the rich young ruler, Jesus does not enter into a theological debate with the guy.  RYR runs up and asks a question about how to enter the Kingdom.  Here’s the kicker.  We see from the text that Jesus LOVES him and gives him an answer.  RYR can’t live by the rules.  So he went away sad.  So did Jesus.  But it doesn’t say that Jesus stopped loving him.  He doesn’t run after RYR beating him about the head with a theological debate.  What is is what is.  There’s no verbal abuse.  No demeaning language.  No entanglement.  Just the facts and they stand by themselves.  More than that … Jesus did not feel the need to “win.”  Whether he won or lost was not the issue in that engagement.  I think the main point of that story is that he loved the guy and would keep on loving him even though entrance into the kingdom is one of the most difficult things we can do.  We need to rely on His love in order to for it to happen.  We miss that in our attempts to make a formula out of the parable.

In the story of the woman at the well (I’ll call her Sam), Jesus begins talking a woman that no one ever talks to.  Not only is her culture outcast, but she is an outcast within her culture.  Hence she is drawing water in the heat of the day when she will not have to endure the blanketed silence and sideways glances of the other women in the town.  Have you ever wondered about women who become prostitutes or men who become homeless?  The people who are in the dregs of our culture.  Do you ever wonder about them?  I do.  I wonder how they started out in life.  I don’t think they began life as whores and junkies and pimps.  Somewhere there is house with photos on the wall of an apple faced girl or boy that these people once were.  They have parents, who had dreams for them that have been smashed for one reason or another.  That little girl or boy … that fresh slate?  That’s who Jesus sees.  Yes, he also sees the mistakes and sins, and terrible things we do to each other, but He also sees and loves that young child of beauty that we each once were.  That’s the Sam He saw that day at the well.  He saw the five husbands and the fact that she was living with a guy, but he also saw all of her potential and the wonder that was created within her.  He could see the becoming as well as the is.

Jesus’ example of how to lead people was not how to win an argument, but how to love.  How to see the becoming, the potential and the wonder of His creation.   When we focus on winning or losing, we actually lose focus.  We begin to forget what our real aim is.  Our real aim is to love our neighbors, not logic them.

10 Responses  
  • Jarred writes:
    February 28th, 200812:14 pmat

    Beautifully said.

    I’m personally of the belief that often, the need to be right and win the argument is often born out of the deep fear that we’re wrong. Winning the argument tends to allay that fear, though only temporarily.

  • Sonja writes:
    February 28th, 200812:19 pmat

    Hmmmm … that’s worth meditating on as well, Jarred, as I go to stitching again today 😉

  • Doug Jones writes:
    February 28th, 200812:44 pmat

    I am at a point where I just want to be…

    I think Jesus was so completely satisfied and at one with being God’s beloved – there was no need to be right; be successful; be anything other than the Beloved – and it was out of this that he was so completely “promiscuous?” with showering His pure love onto any who would receive it…

    May I learn to love my neighbor.

  • Peggy writes:
    February 28th, 200812:54 pmat

    Sonja…sister is must be the bug! I posted on a very similar theme just seconds ago.

    Hope you’re feeling better soon.

  • Patrick O writes:
    February 28th, 20082:11 pmat

    This is one of the biggest lessons I’ve been learning since I wandered up to the mountains. It’s so true that the goal is love and transformation, not being right. And, for me, I’ve had to learn how to lose arguments, how to not justify or follow up all the time, how to just let go and even apologize instead of pushing what I think is a good point. We can be right on a topic but absolutely wrong according to the Spirit.

    So much of Church history has absolutely stumbled on this, and so much of theology is still.

    There is a profound spiritual discipline of learning how to be seen as wrong and losing arguments.

    I’m still learning this. But when I exercise it I’ve seen profound progress and healing, even as I have to accept the humility of it. It’s hard to know there’s a great point to be made but refraining from making it purely for the cause of peace and unity.

    And, too, there are times to put up the fight and assert right. May the Spirit guide us to know when those rare moments are.

    Jarred, I think you’ve hit on a real point, especially with fundamentalists, whose battles are often a matter of not having real faith as opposed to really believing God.

    For me though, I tend to really believe and want to be right because I think it’s right and then fight for that, which makes the discipline for me letting something think they are right when I think they are wrong because that’s more in tune with harmony. And then, of course, learning how to steer them in different ways towards light. 😀

  • grace writes:
    February 28th, 20082:58 pmat

    I usually prefer to refrain from a discussion than enter into an argument. Occasionally I will state an opposing opinion, but I will not defend it strongly.

    When I am most tempted to argue, it’s usually best that I step back.

    Sonja, in light of this post, you might want to just ignore the email I sent you. :)

  • Sonja writes:
    February 28th, 20083:10 pmat

    Grace … ROTFLOL … 😀

  • Lori writes:
    February 28th, 20087:12 pmat

    Sonja- thanks for the shout out. Love this post. You put it so much better than I. It brought tears to my eyes, not sure why. Maybe it was the part about Jesus seeing past the sin to the person He created. And I am so tired of being that person that has to be right, and I want to learn from the people that God has put on my path!!!

  • Pistol Pete writes:
    February 29th, 20086:23 amat

    Fantastic reflection. Just the thing I needed to read to get my day started right.

  • Adam G. writes:
    February 29th, 200810:24 pmat

    I am guiltier than most, Lord knows, of always wanting to be “right.”

    With the RYR, I’ve always noticed what you mentioned, that Jesus loved him but didn’t chase after him. Jesus neither ran to get him back, making the way easier, nor go after him to “prove” he was wrong. The offer was made, the challenge laid out, and it was rejected.

    As for the woman at the well, that’s a wonderful story. She keeps trying to ask Jesus “religious” questions that were considered “critical” in her culture and time, but Jesus kept forcing her back to the real issues.

    Good stuff. Just wish I weren’t always on the wrong side of this.

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