Can I Love God More than Anything? [Questions That Haunt]

This week’s question comes from frequent commenter AJG. He asks:

I’m a recovering evangelical who is probably somewhere on the spectrum between atheism and Christian Agnosticism these days. One of the things we were always taught in church was that we should love God more than anything or anyone else in our lives.

Now this always struck me as an impossibility because how does one go about loving something that one cannot see, hear, touch or interact with? It sounds more like loving an idea instead of loving a real person. What does it even mean to love an idea like God more than loving one’s spouse or children who are ever present in our own lives? My question boils down to the following: What does it mean to love God more than anyone else and is this even a possibility?

I’m on vacation, so the good news is that this question will be answered on Friday by Richard Beck, one of the kick-assingest  theobloggers and authors on the planet! But before that, let’s hear what you think!

Rob Bell Is (Not) a Universalist: The Thief on the Cross

All this week, I’ll be posting about Rob Bell’s controversial new book, Love Wins. And this Sunday, April 10, I’ll be guest hosting Doug Pagitt Radio from 12-2pm CDT, talking with Keith DeRose, Michael Horton, and a special surprise guest! The entire two hours will be devoted to a discussion of the book, in advance of Rob’s appearance the following night at Wayzata Community Church.

I was sitting in a college course entitled, “The Theology of Augustine,” when the estimable and eccentric professor, Charles Stinson, asked us what episode in the Bible most clearly accentuates the doctrine of grace.  As the rest of the class looked at the tops of their shoes, I timidly raised my hand and answered, “The thief on the cross?”

“Yes, Mr. Jones, that is correct,” he responded, “That is the archetypal example of a person who has done nothing to earn eternal favor yet is promised a dwelling in Paradise.”

In Love Wins (pp. 54-55), also wisely turns to this episode to make his point that God’s pursuit of us is inexorable, and that we have a choice. [Read more…]

Didache Blog Tour – Day Eight: A Special Question

Facsimilie of the Didache Titulous

The inimitable Carol Showalter, marketing guru at Paraclete Press, put this blog tour together, and she had the good sense to ask Jonathan Brink to ponder a special question: Is this text – The Didache – really so important? Why? Do we know that it was important to the earliest communities of Christians?

Jonathan answers that question in the affirmative, and in two parts.  First,

The Didache focuses on what it means to be a follower through action, as opposed to a stricter western focus of simply belief.  The emphasis is on love, which reveals life.

And second,

We can’t ignore a book that focuses on love, which also existed before any Christian theology is developed.  In other words, the absence of a Christian theology means its raw.  It’s the first exposure we have to what the early followers of Jesus were wrestling with.  And it just happened to be on the practice of love.  They didn’t seem to get bogged down into doctrinal issues…They focused on love. This has to inform the conversation.

Of course, I agree with Jonathan.  I think the Didache is going to catch on, in a big way, and especially with those of us who are scouting out new and primitive and “authentic” (overused, I know) ways to follow Jesus.  And, if you read the book you’ll see, the best way for us to do that is to really get inside the heads of the earliest Christians who put the Didache together.

Online Resources:

Previously: Adam, Thomas, and me on chapter one. Amy, Ted, and me on chapter three.  Holly, Tripp, and me on chapter four.  Mike and me on chapter five.  Brother Maynard and me on chapter six.  Mike, Greg, and me on chapter seven.  Luke and me on the epilogue.