Maybe God Really Is Love

Shane Claiborne (in Esquire magazine of all places) had this to say about the God he serves:

I want to invite you to consider that maybe the televangelists and street preachers are wrong — and that God really is love. Maybe the fruits of the Spirit really are beautiful things like peace, patience, kindness, joy, love, goodness, and not the ugly things that have come to characterize religion, or politics, for that matter. (If there is anything I have learned from liberals and conservatives, it’s that you can have great answers and still be mean… and that just as important as being right is being nice.)

The Bible that I read says that God did not send Jesus to condemn the world but to save it… it was because “God so loved the world.” That is the God I know, and I long for others to know. I did not choose to devote my life to Jesus because I was scared to death of hell or because I wanted crowns in heaven… but because he is good. For those of you who are on a sincere spiritual journey, I hope that you do not reject Christ because of Christians. We have always been a messed-up bunch, and somehow God has survived the embarrassing things we do in His name. At the core of our “Gospel” is the message that Jesus came “not [for] the healthy… but the sick.” And if you choose Jesus, may it not be simply because of a fear of hell or hope for mansions in heaven.

I am convinced that the Christian Gospel has as much to do with this life as the next, and that the message of that Gospel is not just about going up when we die but about bringing God’s Kingdom down. It was Jesus who taught us to pray that God’s will be done “on earth as it is in heaven.” On earth.

He’s right. Or at least I think he is. And because he’s right, my life, your life, and any other life devoted to Jesus should change dramatically and continually … and maybe not in the ways that so many of us have always thought.


2 thoughts on “Maybe God Really Is Love

  1. As a friendly atheist/agnostic, I can relate to this perspective. While I am now happily in a committed, life-long partnership with my soon-to-be wife, I looked back to my single years when reading this. When single, alone with time to ponder my own spirituality, I always and naturally immersed myself in spiritual studies. I’d meditate, take long walks, explore the questions I could not answer and find peace in my studies of the world religions. I mostly studied zen buddhism, but I tried to take what I could from each religion I studied.

    From childhood to know, my own spirituality went out of focus whenever I was in love. Meditation, study and practice were no longer an important part of my life. In the love for my partner, I had such a greater sense of spirituality that it replaced my focus on personal exploration. My love became my religion, and that which I studied alone was but a footnote in my spiritual past.

    I am not a person of faith, in that I do not have a shred of faith in what a written word or a spoken word can say about MY OWN spirituality. I am not a person of faith because I desire to discover the world, its wonders and hopefully its maker with my own two eyes. But in my other, my partner, my soon-to-be bride, I HAVE faith. I have faith in her, I have faith in my dedication TO her, and I have faith in what our love will be for the rest of our lives.

    In short, I agree with the writer’s assessment that “god is love”, in that love is the closest this atheist/agnostic has ever been to the greatest magic that life can endure… at least from where I sit. Love for me is “god”. I aspire to be closer to it every day, and I aspire to be a better lover every day. If “god” is a word of translation between our collective view points, then I completely agree with the author of this quote.

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