I’m currently reading another book by Brennan Manning, my third of his in a row. He just has a super refreshing perspective on faith. I would love to copy out the entire the last chapter I read in The Relentless Tenderness of Jesus and put it in this blog post but instead I’ll just say you should read the book and post a summary of a list he created.
I’ll start with this excerpt to give the theme of this chapter.
“Christianity is not an ethical code. It is a love affair, a Spirit-filled way of living aimed at making us professional lovers of God and people. To continue to eye God primarily in terms of laws, obligations and town ordinances represents a retreat to a pre-Christian level of thought and a rejection of Jesus Christ and the total sufficiency of His redeeming work.
As church history abundantly proves, one-sided emphasis on the courthouse has domesticated Christian freedom, “Churchified” Jesus, distorted the Gospel into a dull, drab affair made a mirage of the freedom and glory of the children of God. The call of freedom is changed into the call of a religious party…. Ghandi once said, “I like your Christ but I don’t like your Christians… They are so unlike your Christ.”… Unless and until we have pioneers who respond to the call of freedom, who live by inner dynamism of the Spirit, human torches aglow with the fire of love for Christ, the Christianity of the courthouse will remain a musty antique from a medieval past.”
Last week we watched the new Michael Moore doc “Fahrenheit 11/9” (no I don’t mean 9/11) of course the whole thing is to be taken with a grain of salt, but the one thing that really bothered me, and actually kept me up at night was the way that Christianity is connected to certain values and people and the impression it has left on generations of people. It made me sick. Not that I don’t hear and see this perspective on the regular it just left a stronger impression on me last week.
This chapter “Freedom under the word” really helped put my feelings into words on that subject.
Anyway, the reason I started writing this post was to share this list. Inspired by Jesus farewell address “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Here is a summary of some requirements of love that he lists to question yourself on:
1. Have I failed to take the initiative in working for Social Justice on a local level?
2. Had habitual contempt for others: less educated people, people of different ethic, racial, economic or religious groups?
3. Dismissed senior citizens as medieval? Never tried to make them feel their worth as persons?
4. In any way stifled the personal development of another? (My own note here… I think this is something women have to try extra hard not to do. We have to be so intentional to encourage the personal develop of each other.)
5. Sought to be respected without respecting others?
6. Often kept others waiting?
7. Carelessly forgotten or not kept a date?
8. Been difficult for others to reach or too busy to put myself at their disposal?
9. Not paid attention to the person speaking?
10. Kept silent when I should have spoken out?
11. Responded only to those whose friendship might prove profitable?
12. Blackened the character of anyone by harmful remarks, false or true?
13. Betrayed a trust, violated a confidence, involved myself in others’ affairs through indiscreet words and actions?
“Once and for all, I give you this one short command: love, and do what you will. If you hold your peace, hold your peace out of love. If you cry out, cry out in love. If you correct someone, correct them out of love. If you spare them, spare them out of love. Let the root of love be in you: nothing can spring from it but good.“ – St. Augustine