March 26 Flashback: Unholy

March 26 Flashback: Unholy March 26, 2022

Bet you thought I’d have given up on this daily flashback post bit by now.

From March 26, 2014, “There is no such thing as ‘holiness’ apart from love“:

What can this “holiness” possibly mean if it is something other than love — something apparently opposite love? God’s “holiness,” he suggests, is something we should regard as on equal and opposite footing with God’s love.

I cannot conceive of what such “holiness” means. Jesus, Paul, Isaiah and Amos are no help — they all insisted that no such thing can or does exist. For all of them, the idea of some “holiness” that was separate or distinct from love was meaningless. “Nothing.”

What puzzles me most here, though, is why anyone would want to suggest such a thing. Why would anyone ever think it was helpful or virtuous or good to create some loveless notion of holiness and then try to place it on equal footing with love?

Have you ever had that impulse? Have you ever one day thought to yourself, “Hey, you know what’d be great? Let’s come up with some concept of virtue and goodness that’s wholly separate from love! Let’s prove Jesus and Paul and the prophets wrong and theorize some abstract notion of ‘holiness’ — some concept of a law that love does not fulfill.”

Why would anyone want that? Why would anyone think God wanted that? It’s just kind of … well, weird.

What, pray tell, is the content and substance of this loveless holiness? What are these other laws that Jesus and Paul forgot about when they both told us that love is the fulfillment of the law? Is it some kind of dietary restriction? Should we be eschewing hot caffeinated beverages? Should we refrain from wearing red on Wednesdays? What could holiness without love possibly even mean?

Or is this just a sex thing? That’d be ironic, you know, if it turned out that the very folks who make the biggest deal about sex and holiness turned out to be the ones insisting on the separation and opposition of sex and love.

If holiness means anything worth anything at all, then it can only be as an expression of love. Any definition of holiness that is not an expression of love is, at best, arbitrary and absurdist. But more likely it’s just opposed to love. That’s how this absurd abstraction of holiness is always cited and invoked by its adherents — as something opposed to love, something to be weighed in the balance across from love and against love and instead of love.

There’s a word for that which is opposed to love, against love and instead of love. That word is not “holiness.” Not even close.

Read the whole post here.

"I thought of that, I did... but this gets back to what I keep saying. ..."

Postcards from the class & culture ..."
"Fun fact I learned the other day: Italian right-wingers/fascists apparently really love the works of ..."

Postcards from the class & culture ..."
"The double standard is the point it is baked in the pie of just about ..."

Smart people saying smart things (9.22.22)
"I have no idea what the "good" part of this plan is. The article suggests ..."

Postcards from the class & culture ..."

Browse Our Archives

Close Ad