, Newburyport, MA

Local News

February 9, 2013

The nature of love

In the 13th chapter of his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul gives us a very familiar presentation of the nature of love. Most people who have been to a Christian wedding or seen one on TV will know that love is patient, kind; not envious, boastful or rude; does not insist on its own way; is not irritable, etc. ... . This is one of the most, if not the most, popular passage from Christian scripture.

It is ironic, however, that often when people get into discussions of faith in the public square, many of these characteristics of love are violated. People of faith (and especially Christians, I would argue) often defend and impose their faith in a way that goes against all that Paul tries to teach us about the nature of love.

How often has the public face of Christianity been boastful (proud) or rude? How often have Christians very publicly insisted on their own way? There are many people who have been hurt by Christians (and people of other faiths) acting contrary to Paul’s understanding of the nature of love and doing it in God’s name. Unfortunately, when our approach to discussing our faith with others is contrary to the nature of love, interfaith conversations break down. When I am too proud and insist on my way, I do not listen to the other whom I am trying to engage.

At the end of this 13th chapter Paul says, “For now we see in a mirror dimly ... .” He does not say that we look out into the world through a glass dimly. He says that we see in a mirror dimly. In other words, we don’t even see or know ourselves perfectly. Our own perspective, our own beliefs are not perfect. So, how can we insist that others be or think just like us?

Text Only | Photo Reprints

Port Pics
AP Video
Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast New Sanctions on Key Sectors of Russian Economy Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue
Special Features