Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Loving the World

Do not love the world or the things in the world. The love of the Father is not in those who love the world; for all that is in the world—the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, the pride in riches—comes not from the Father but from the world. (I John 2:15-16)

 Like my previous post, I start with a troublesome verse. There are Christians who see this and use it as an excuse to detach, abuse, over-use. It can lead to crises of resources and guilt over natural attraction between people.

That's not to say that the verse is completely wrong. A certain amount of detachment from the things of this world is a good thing. If desire is a part of the human experience, it can also become a ruling drive in our lives, making food, money, sex, or (in my case) books an obsession that throws other concerns out of balance. (I swear, I buy fewer books than I used to.)

I would that we not read this passage as a warning against loving the beauty and sensual (in the broadest sense) pleasures of the world. They are gifts. If there are times we feel it getting out of balance, we need to take a step back (sometimes we may need help with that).

I would rather us read it as a variation of the great commandment: To love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength and our neighbor as ourselves.

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