Doing Good With Our Love

“You are what you love.”
 

How does that sit with you? Do you agree outright? Do you think, “tell me more…?” I have based a 13-week experiment loosely around this concept: we, as human beings, are not merely “brains-on-sticks.” We are whole people who have a brain which can reason and puzzle and work through problems and who also possess a seemingly unendless capacity to feel and use instinct and relate to our world physically and wholly embodied. These are by no means ideas original to me – James Smith writes a book called, You Are What You Love, companioned by the thicker version, Desiring the Kingdom. It was Smith’s work, an expansion, really, on ideas articulated in the 400s by St. Augustine, that prompted my experiment.

What if, instead of approaching scripture solely from an informational position (extracting meaning, mining for application, reading to master), we instead approach it transformationally (listening, dwelling, allowing it to master me)? What if we practice, together, taking time for silence and stillness? Would it be possible to tap into our desires – our loves, and begin to form and train those desires toward God? So, for the last 13 weeks, a group of us have been listening to the same section of scripture and practicing prayer postures which focus more on listening than speaking. The Spirit has been palpably present as we have engaged in these practices of listening. And it prompts me to ask, what’s next?

When I consider the directive to “do good with our love” I hear resonance with what this small group has experienced these last few weeks. If we agree that we, as humans, are desiring creatures (who, granted, often find our desire misdirected), we understand that we need to train our desires to aim toward that which is good and holy and redemptive. What practices can we engage that direct our love toward good? I would suggest that our posture begins with openness and listening – paying attention to where God shows up each and every day. The call I hear is “wake up!” May God open our ears, our hearts, and our minds as we listen and respond.

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