No matter who you are, what you have done, how you have messed up, or how much you have to offer you are loved.
No matter what your accomplishments or lack thereof you are loved.
Regardless of your position, marital status, or race you are loved.
Whether you are tall or short, big or small, think you are good looking or not it really doesn’t matter because you are loved.
There are many things in this life we can’t quite know for sure but the one thing we shouldn’t have to wonder about is whether or not we are loved. We have an easier time instilling this in our younger children than we do instilling this in our teens and adults.
You shouldn’t have to wonder whether or not you are loved because even if it doesn’t always feel like it the fact remains that God loves you and whether you are aware of it or not there are people in this world who love you regardless of any standard, regardless of your flag, your tribe, the kind of home you live in or don’t…the kind of car you drive or bike you ride…it doesn’t matter…always know that you are loved.
I believe what you say is true, but I have never seen or experienced anything resembling Agape love from any Church of Christ nor its members. It is all head talk.
Gary, I am not sure why you felt compelled to take that angle on it but my experience has been much, much different than what you describe. I have been in very conservative churches, middle of the road and progressive and loved and was dearly loved in all of them. Sorry that has been your experience. It isn’t that way everywhere.
I can’t go to the extreme that Gary did, but I did not generally feel accepted. I always kept my opinions to myself since mine are different than most people’s. I wish I could have seen the love that you wrote about in the posting, that is, not being conditional. I guess I never heard anyone speak/preach who mentioned the part the faith to accept and love those different from you or even say that other opinions are acceptable or that is ok to have some doubt.
Was this even taught in seminary or do church leaders forbid it?
It was certainly modeled for me by my professors in seminary. We were taught and equipped to think and study for ourselves. That goes a long way toward developing epistemological humility.
What was modeled in seminary was theological arrogance and rationalism masquerading as love. Yes, I was taught to think for myself by some. As long as I could at least look like I accepted ALL of what I was taught, their was acceptance. I saw a lot of cruelty by many professors across the board. I have been to 4 seminaries, and it was there. Been there done that. Thanks, Gary
How long ago was that Gary?
The seminary structure is conducive to intellectual pursuit at the expense of agape love. It is the structure itself which is Either conservative or liberal seminaries put on a show of acceptance as long as one acts like a pet monkey or marionette. Students are encouraged to put on a good show and be superficial. I am not saying that I did not have a few good teachers. Learning and some growth took place, a lot of it in opposition to what I was being taught.
As far as the churches go, they only love those who fit the mold and do not challenge the status quo. To be happy in a “normal” American Church, one must check their deepest beliefs at the door and be content with what they are told, and accept the superficial spirituality offered and being “nice” as love. I have never seen Christian Agape love offered in any church, especially the Churches of Christ, even the Progressive variety.
Thanks, Gary Cummings, BA, MS, MDiv, MTh,, uncompleted DMin (due to ill health)
Gary, I am sorry for being so wooden and literal in my interpretation of your comment but you are speaking universally when all you have to reflect on is your own experience. My experience tells me what you experienced is not the case everywhere. I didn’t see that in the least in my years in seminary and I can point you to dozens of other ministers who would agree with me…as I am sure you could, you. So there is a variety of things going on out there and it is not all good or all bad. We are the ones who choose where we get our education. We aren’t forced into it. If you don’t like it, you are paying for it…pick another place if it is unloving. I cannot imagine sticking around if that was going on in any consistent way.
The American church in its various forms of the “visible” church is against the Kingdom of God. Our experiences are our experiences, As you say, we can each stack up witnesses on our respective sides. Thanks, Gary
Saying the church in its various forms is against the Kingdom of God is quite a statement. How would you back that up as definitively as you stated it?
My statement if true backs itself up. Thanks and goodbye
Sorry you have been so hurt. Praying for you brother Gary.