Love Your Way Through

The other day I came across this line by Cornel West. It's a short line, but it captures so much about how I feel about life and living.

In describing how he tries to approach life West says his intention is
"to love my way through the absurdity of life."
To love our way through the absurdity of life.

I think a lot of theological conversation ends up in absurdity. In the face of pain. In the face of suffering. In the face of death. In the face of things we know nothing about.

In the face of all that absurdity I think Christians talk too damn much.

Me included, given the flood of words on this blog.

But the main reason I am a Christian is that it gives me a way to "love my way through." My Christianity isn't a metaphysical system. It's not a theory. It's not a creed or an orthodoxy. It's not a sacred book.

It is a way to love my way through.

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12 thoughts on “Love Your Way Through”

  1. 1. I agree that Christians talk way too much. Especially progressive Christians. Sometimes it seems to be all we do. I have been profoundly impacted by the phrase 'the deed which interprets itself' (I think I quoted that correctly) which I first read on this blog (so thanks for that)

    2. Your words are generally concise and always include a call to real action. You have helped me to understand and find some common ground even with the charismatic/Pentecostal form of Christianity which I thought could never happen. (Thanks again). So while you correctly criticize the amount of talk in Christianity over action, please don't stop!

  2. Thank you. I don't plan to stop. Mostly because I find collecting ideas and sharing stories or insights therapeutic for myself. I'm not trying to "contribute" to "the conversation" as much as I'm journaling my way through life and faith.

  3. Cornell West's statement is especially moving and memorable when we consider how aware he is of the many evangelicals who bristle with anger at the very thought of him. And, yet, that is exactly the reaction to love by those who see the giver as a reprobate, a "sworn enemy of the truth".

    I recall a conversation with a relative after I left the Church of Christ. The person was expressing shock as to how I could turn my back on those who had "guided me through the truth" in my younger years. I responded by saying, "I'm not turning my back on THEM. In fact I still love them". To which my relative angrily responded, "I don't want to hear that. Please, don't say that".

    Richard, I am thinking you have probably received similar responses, in one form or another, when expressing love to those who strongly disagree with you.

  4. You know, I've actually had a pretty easy go of it. I can't recall a time since starting this blog where I've had an angry interpersonal exchange with a conservative member of the Churches of Christ. (I'm not a preacher so unless you're an avid reader of progressive Christian blogs most people in the CoC would have no idea who I am. And if you are an avid reader of progressive blogs I doubt you'd be too freaked out by me.)

    What I hear most often is, "I read your blog. I don't agree with everything you say, but you make me think and I can tell you love Jesus and the church."

    To be honest, I think it's that last bit that helps a whole lot, a clear passion for and commitment to my local church. If conservative CoCers respect anything, they respect that.

  5. I hear you on the last part. However, I grew up in a family of preachers, which meant we also had close friends as preachers. And I believe that the closer you are to someone the more upset and troubled they are by change, especially by walking away.

  6. "...not a metaphysical system, theory...etc." Have you read Christos Yannaras' "The Meaning of Reality". It is a collection of essays and there are more than a few that I think you would love.

  7. I've devoted a huge amount of time and effort to trying to deny absurdity and meaninglessness. But reading authors like Vonnegut, Camus and Derrida over the last few months has helped me to form a nervous friendship with these aspects of life - to appreciate that it's not 'despite' or 'in addition to' these experiences that hope and meaning arise, but rather 'in the midst of' - that meaninglessness is a necessary (if not sufficient) condition for meaning. Hence, God answers Job not after or over, but out of the storm; the centurion sees the power of God in the moment of powerlessness in the face of death. Not that this gives me anything useful to say to a friend undergoing similar experiences, but if nothing else it takes away my need to deny the experience of the other.

  8. To be honest, I think it's that last bit that helps a whole lot, a clear passion for and commitment to my local church. If conservative CoCers respect anything, they respect that.

    Out of curiosity (curiosity because I doubt I'll ever be trying to win the respect of conservative CoCers particularly), how transferable is this? If I were to demonstrate a clear and passion for and commitment to my local Anglican church, would that still get me the same respect? Or does it have to be a CoC church? Or would most Protestant churches be enough, so long as they were sufficiently Protestant according to some rubric (so the Anglicans might not fit)?

  9. I don't think it would be transferable. The very conservative Churches of Christ are sectarian, so being a member of an actual Church of Christ is crucial to them. Which is why I tend to describe the trends in our movement as sectarian vs. ecumenical rather than as conservative vs. liberal. Because most of our ecumenical churches would be considered conservative by Anglican standards. They would, however, in contrast to the sectarian congregations respect and honor commitment to the local Anglican church.

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