Adore, endure, forgive; and a prayer for enemies

Years ago, I was in a theology class which touched on ‘love your enemies‘. To my astonishment, a pastor of a large church burst out, rather angrily, “I don’t know why we keep talking about this. We are Christians. We have no enemies.” My jaw dropped. Continue reading “Adore, endure, forgive; and a prayer for enemies”

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Love, Be Wounded, Forgive, Repeat

Loving like Jesus means loving together through betrayal and beyond. (Listen.)

“Love one another as I have loved you …”: Jesus says these familiar words at a critical moment. He has just washed the feet of each and every disciple. Now Judas has left the building. He’s heading to the authorities, to hand Jesus over to be tortured and killed. Continue reading “Love, Be Wounded, Forgive, Repeat”

#9: Love your enemy: #40ways40days

Jesus said, ‘‘But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.’ (Luke 6:27-28)

When I lived in Cambridge, I decided to try out this business of ‘loving your enemy’, and the enemy in question happened to be my neighbour. We lived in the centre of town, and parking was at a premium. In our street, which was a private lane owned by one of the colleges, we were the only house without a garage, and we used to park in front of three disused garages belonging to a neighbour who didn’t own a car. Then one day a man moved in next door and asked this neighbour to lend him all three garages, and then told us, bad luck, we could no longer park where we’d been parking for the last ten years because he needed access to all three of ‘his’ garages at all times. Continue reading “#9: Love your enemy: #40ways40days”

Winnowing out only violence, or the move from John to Jesus

Listen here.

Some years back, I saw a woman in a carpark smacking her child. And as she smacked, she yelled, “WE DO NOT HIT IN THIS FAMILY! WE LOVE!” It reminded me of those ostensibly Biblical parenting models, in which cool and collected parents maintain discipline by spanking their naughty children—and then lovingly use the moment as a teaching opportunity. Because the people being hit are children, and because our society doesn’t rate children’s experiences very highly, we adults can miss the contradiction here. Yet if we substitute ‘women’ for ‘children’, perhaps things become clearer: even if it’s ‘just a smack’, there is a mixed message going on, to say the least. Continue reading “Winnowing out only violence, or the move from John to Jesus”

Love who?!

Once upon a time, I was sitting in a class at the theological college when the concept of ‘love your enemy’ came up. The pastor of a large church became annoyed and said, “I’ve got no idea why we waste time talking about this. We’re Christians—we have no enemies!” His comment revealed what is actually a fairly common idea: Those of us who are not actively oppressed by a violent regime, and who work very hard to be nice, often think we love everyone. But is this true? And can we throw the whole idea of loving our enemy out? Continue reading “Love who?!”

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