That question stopped me because I realized I didn't actually have the answer. I don't have a book, product, or organization to anchor this website. There are plenty of blogs that have a "random thoughts by me," format. I am certainly not going to discredit that, because, let's face it, that's what Welcome to Love is.
But, once upon a time, I actually had a vision. Not just for this blog but for my life. That vision had something to do with loving people, which is about as helpful as saying I want to be a good person.
Maybe it is because I am watching to much Next Food Network Star but I keep hearing Giada De Laurentiis in my head saying "We need to see you in this dish."
Yesterday I posted a link to a post that I wrote at the inception of my blog, but I thought it might be a good thing for me to actually reread that post myself, so I wanted to share that with you as well.
As followers of Christ, Christians take upon the namesake of One who was born, lived, died, and was resurrected in pure love for all mankind. Just as "Dr" or "PhD" implies authority in a given field, "Christian" implies authority in the realm of this self-sacrificing love. We have a responsibility as "image-bearers." of Christ to administer His love and grace to the world.
As many know, especially those who do not consider themselves Christians, this is generally not the case. Unfortunately, being a Christian generally has more to do with house you vote, or which emails your forward rather than how you live your life. Christ's simple calling to love one another has been polluted and complicated by selfish ambitions, fear, and hypocrisy. But mostly fear.
In our attempts to be the "called out ones" we have created a great disconnect between the church and the world, and the "us and them" attitude has bred fear and misunderstanding.
In fear we have withdrawn deep within the walls of our church and huddled under the blankets of traditions. We are reactionaries, characterized by ignorance and extremism. We have looked to men to guide us rather than to God. Demonizing any pattern or philosophy that comes from outside of our walls, we have defined ourselves by our practices and traditions rather than by Christ. We have become so preoccupied with our survival as "cultural" Christians that we have forgotten the purpose of our existence.
Along with his sacrificial death, Jesus lived a model life. But, though we take His name, we have not healed the sick, fed the hungry, comforted the grieving, and preached grace to the condemned. Rather, we have injured and maimed those we have been called to love and comfort all for the sake of perpetuating some kind of status quo. We have become contented armchair nominal followers of Christ. And, God help me, I've been at the front of the pack.
What I've realized since I wrote this 3 years ago, aside from the fact that I have learned very little in the past 3 years, is that not only is it incredibly hard to love people the way God loves them, it is incredibly hard to even understand what that means.
God's love is a deep, deep well and we cannot fathom the secrets it holds. But I have learned just a few things.
- You do not understand the love of God, and you will not until you give Him permission to teach you something new. He will do this in a way you do not expect and through people you do not like.
- You cannot understand God's love if you are not willing to receive it. This means really accepting that you will never need him any less than the most desperate sinner on the planet, it also means living in that reality before people. This is the uncomfortable humility that allows us to grasp the ungraspable magnitude of God's love and also to love someone without placing ourselves above them. It is also the only way to find that freedom in Christ.
- You cannot understand God's love if you are not willing to give it. We may understand love academically and even do good things, but until we devote our entire existence to serving others rather than preserving our moral or philosophical standards we won't have a clue what it means.
This is a beginning of "me on a plate."