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Posts tagged "One-Way Love"

"I hate you Dad! Oh, I mean Reverend!"

“I hate you Dad! Oh, I mean Reverend!”

An old girlfriend of mine—let’s call her the Girl from Ipanema…no, on second thought, we better not—had a type when it came to men: blond hair and blue eyes. That worked out well for me—for awhile. Then a ghost showed up—taking the form of an ill-fated previous relationship with a man who looked remarkably like me. That, children, was when I was introduced to the wonderful world of transference.

Frank Lake describes transference in his book, Clinical Theology:

The displacement of feeling from one object or person to another, and particularly the process by which the patient shifts feelings and attitudes primarily…

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Grace a Lot vs. Grace Alone

A quick one from Tullian Tchividjian’s impassioned introduction to One Way Love: Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World. Couldn’t be more excited that Tullian will be speaking at our Houston Conference next week!

It often seems that the Good News of God’s grace has been tragically hijacked by an oppressive religious moralism that is all about rules, rules, and more rules. Doing more, trying harder, self-help, getting better, and fixing, fixing, fixing—ourselves, our kids, our spouses, our friends, our enemies, our culture, our world. Christianity is perceived as being a vehicle for good behavior and clean living—and the judgments that result from them—rather than the only recourse for those who have failed over and over and over again…

I do not mean to imply that Christians don’t believe in grace. It is just that we have a hard time with grace alone. As Max Lucado recently observed, “It wasn’t that [certain Judean Christians who Paul chastised in Acts 15] didn’t believe in grace at all. They did. They believed in grace a lot. They just didn’t believe in grace alone.”

Agnetha Faltskog Is God? (Mbird Find of the Century)

As a music fan, every once and a while you have one of those “there-is-a-god moments” that makes all the digging worthwhile. You find something, usually by accident, that seems tailormade for YOU, a piece of the puzzle that fits perfectly, that you didn’t know you were missing. It sounds far-fetched, but the sensation is a spiritual one. In an instant, the impersonal universe evaporates and the existence of God seems like a foregone conclusion. And not just any God but a God that cares about, well, you. It happened when I stumbled across Elvis Presley’s “Let Us Pray”. Same thing when I heard the story behind The Monkees’ “St. Matthew”. But this one may take the cake: the lead off track on Agnetha Faltskog’s second solo album (you know, the girl who put the ‘A’ in ABBA). Written by none other than ELO maestro Jeff Lynne–especially for her!–and produced by 10cc’s Eric Stewart, I’m sure you’ll agree that the circle is now complete:

To quote Elaine Benes, I have no speech. I mean, a Wilbury-written OWL, sung by ‘the girl with the golden hair’, the one who was by all accounts the most damaged by her former group’s astronomical success?! It’s too much. You’ll forgive me if I take the opportunity to repost Paul Zahl’s classic formulation (which Fall Conference speaker Tullian Tchividjian has run with so convincingly and enthusiastically). While PZ clearly takes the phrase in a different direction than Agnetha, by no means does his usage rule out the ‘unrequited’ aspect–it just switches the roles, i.e. Agnetha sings from the God’s-eye point of view, ‘natch:

article-2213169-006FA67000000258-499_468x763Grace is love that seeks you out when you have nothing to give in return. Grace is love coming at you that has nothing to do with you. Grace is being loved when you are unlovable. It is being loved when you are the opposite of lovable. The cliché definition of grace is “unconditional love.” It is a true cliché, for it is a good description of the thing. It sounds a little 1970s (as in “Have a Nice Day!”). Yet the words are apt.

Let’s go a little further, though. Grace is a love that has nothing to do with you, the beloved. It has everything and only to do with the lover. Grace is irrational in the sense that it has nothing to do with weights and measures. It has nothing to do with my intrinsic qualities or so-called “gifts” (whatever they may be). It reflects a decision on the part of the giver, the one who loves, in relation to the receiver, the one who is loved, that negates any qualifications the receiver may personally hold…. Grace is one-way love.”

Lecturing the Prodigal Son(s) in The NY Times

Lecturing the Prodigal Son(s) in The NY Times

A few thoughts on some recent Internet Prodigal Son banter, from David Zahl and Will McDavid:

As much as I admire The NY Times, it’s not where I go to read about grace. You? And yet, David Brooks was back at it again this week, talking about the parable of the prodigal son(s) and endorsing grace as an essential factor in crafting social policy for those who’ve squandered their inheritance/potential/goodwill. Check it out:

We live in a divided society in which many of us in the middle- and upper-middle classes are like the older brother and many of the people who drop…

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Dad, We Have Something To Tell You: Premarital Predicaments and One Way Love

Dad, We Have Something To Tell You: Premarital Predicaments and One Way Love

One of many things that distinguishes Tullian Tchividjian’s One Way Love from other books of its ilk is the willingness to pull back the curtain on the author’s personal life. As we all know, it is very easy to talk about grace and forgiveness in the abstract, for people to go on and on about being sinners without ever going into specifics (plug: this is often what separates the church from AA, as I tried to spell out in a radio interview with Steve Brown the other day). And sure, listing specifics can easily get voyeuristic and self-glorifying, but the…

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Read, Mark, and Inwardly Digest (Post-Haste!): Reviewing Tullian's One Way Love

Read, Mark, and Inwardly Digest (Post-Haste!): Reviewing Tullian’s One Way Love

Well, it’s getting close to time to lay down the pen, beat swords into plowshares, etc. Tullian Tchividjian’s fantastic new book, One Way Love: Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World (out today!), says so much of what the Church–and all of us!–needs to hear. In Tullian’s own words,

The Christian faith has often been perceived as the ultimate vehicle of conditionality… once you made that initial Christian commitment, it was time to get your act together and be serious. We conclude that it was God’s blood, sweat and tears that got us in, but that it’s our blood, sweat, and tears…

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Another Week Ends: Grand Theft Auto, Angry Net Users, One Way Love, Self-Helpy Great Books, Anti-Altruistic Kickstarters, and More Breaking Bad

Another Week Ends: Grand Theft Auto, Angry Net Users, One Way Love, Self-Helpy Great Books, Anti-Altruistic Kickstarters, and More Breaking Bad

1. For starters, Grand Theft Auto V is out! (If you need a strong case for dabbling in it, go here). Kill Screen posted a doozie of a review, provocatively titled, “Grand Theft Auto 5 channels the violent, lonely minds of men, especially mine“, ht SZ:

I shudder with recognition… at the bleeding edge of reality in Grand Theft Auto V. I am both delighted and disturbed by how much I see elements of myself, and of everyone I know, in the narratives of the three protagonists: Michael, Franklin Clinton and Trevor Philips.

That statement doesn’t look too good, for my health or for…

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College Admissions, the Summer of George, and the Gospel of Free Grace

College Admissions, the Summer of George, and the Gospel of Free Grace

We are honored to present an exclusive excerpt from keynote speaker Tullian Tchividjian’s forthcoming book, One Way Love: Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World. (Yes, the title is a shout-out to the man himself). This part comes from the opening of chapter nine, which deals with some of the common objections to the message of grace.

For many Americans of a certain age, the college admissions process is an oppressive and extraordinarily stressful area of life. It is performancism writ very, very large. One’s entire worth and value as a person is boiled down to a short transcript and application, which…

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Mockingbird at the Movies: Warm Bodies

Mockingbird at the Movies: Warm Bodies

By my own count, there are precisely three films in the underrated genre of Zombie Romantic Comedies, or RomZomComs, if you will. The first was 2004’s Shaun of the Dead, a cult classic where the zombie apocalypse was the occasion in which mid-life crisis Shaun steps up  to win back his ex-girlfriend. The second is 2009’s Zombieland, where anti-social, nerdy germophobe Columbus thrives in the zombie apocalypse by teaming up with a crew of misfit survivors, one of whom quickly becomes his love interest.   The third, and probably not the last, is this year’s Warm Bodies, which does the…

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Desire, Beauty, and Mercy: The Romance of Grace by Jim McNeely

Desire, Beauty, and Mercy: The Romance of Grace by Jim McNeely

The old commandment presses upon us the obligation to love, but the new commandment releases us into the power of love. He commands the wind and the waves, and they are calm. He commands us to love by first loving us, and so creates the love He desires. It is of grace, because love responds only to affection and not to coercion or force. Love, by grace, must make itself desirable to our hearts by sheer miracle or our hearts will not autonomously engage with affection.

Mbird friend Jim McNeely just released his new book, The Romance of Grace, and we…

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Another Week Ends: One Way Love, Platonic Tennis, Curmudgeon Law, Downton Anti-Snobbery, Ecumenical Shipwrecks, Dr. Hook, House of Cards and Justified

Another Week Ends: One Way Love, Platonic Tennis, Curmudgeon Law, Downton Anti-Snobbery, Ecumenical Shipwrecks, Dr. Hook, House of Cards and Justified

1. The hits just keep on coming. Spring Conference speaker and friend Tullian Tchividjian announced his next book this morning and the title will be familiar to some of you, One Way Love: The Power of Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World. Tullian, of course, is paying tribute to the definition of grace that PZ coined in Grace In Practice. If the rest of the book is at all like the intro (and I have a strong feeling that it is, wink wink), then this is something to be very excited about:

The good news of God’s inexhaustible grace for…

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One-Way Love According to Søren Kierkegaard

One-Way Love According to Søren Kierkegaard

A bit of a follow-up to last week’s fantastic post on Kierkegaard and imputation. It’s doozy of a quote on perfect, one-way, love:

“To be able to love a person despite his weaknesses and defects and imperfections is still not perfect love, but rather this, to be able to find him lovable despite and with his weaknesses and defects and imperfections. Let us understand each other. It is one thing fastidiously to want to eat only the choicest and most delectable dish when it is exquisitely prepared or, even when this is the case, fastidiously to find one or another defect…

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