Archive for October, 2012

October 24, 2012

The First

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What is love?  What does it mean to love someone?

After watching a recent video posted by WongFu Productions, entitled “The Last” (posted above), I was forced to ask myself the same questions.  Many people love people for different reasons.  And as alluded to in the video, a lot of those reasons center around the age-old, Five Diagnostic W’s: Who, What, Where, When, and Why.  But either from watching the above production or from first-hand experience, we eventually notice that loving anyone for any one of these reasons exclusively is not enough.

You can’t just love someone for “who” they are or how high a pedestal you place them on.  You can’t just love someone for “what” they are, because even though all your best friends can’t all be your lover, admittedly your lover must be your best friend.   You can’t love someone simply because of “where” you are, or else the lines of commitment and circumstances begin to blur together.  You can’t just love someone for “when” they are, because then we would all be formulated to our 2nd-grade crushes, 7th-grade summer camp flings, or high school sweet hearts (while that has worked for some, it’s not the overwhelming majority).  And you can’t just love someone on the “why,” lest your love gets diluted to a generalized reason with no unique attachments of reciprocity geared towards that specific one person.  What’s different about that love than the one you show to others?

In an ideal world, the goal is meld all of these reasons together.  If you can love someone for who, what, where, when, and why they are, you’ve found your perfect match… your soul mate.  Once you find “The One,” you’re supposed to hold onto them so that they are the Last.

But even this sentiment is flawed.

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Gospel Connection:  We all fall short.  As much as we would like to love someone encompassing all five W’s and more, we will fail to do so on the constant level our lovers demand.  And even as much as we would like to have someone love us in this way, past scars remind us that, that almost never happens.  So where is the hope in love?  If no one can fulfill the need for us, nor can we satisfy that for others, why even bother trying?  The world will tell us to continue searching for that love.  At one point or another, someone will end up being your Last.

The Gospel tells us that the love we are searching for is already here.  When we place all our hope and love in someone who is just as flawed as we are, the status of that savior-figure will, at best, only remain as “surrogate.”  But when we place our identity in the One who came restore everything that is broken in this world, we realize that the work is already done.  We no longer search for the Last, but believe in the First who chose to love us before our search even began.

We love because he first loved us.
– 1 John 4:19 (ESV)

October 17, 2012

Nameun and Eve

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It’s October and that means we’re in the full swing of playoff baseball.  But with the way the Yankees have been playing, it looks like they’re at the back end of that swing.  This time of year always gets me to be at the peak of my emotional sensitivity, as I am forced to feel both utmost elation and utter defeat in the span of about three hours.

This current postseason has proven to be no different, but these past couple of days have produced more frustration than satisfaction.  One of our star players (or at least supposed-to-be-“star”-quality-dictated-by-his-salary) is really struggling and was actually benched from the starting line-up tonight in a crucial Game 3 of the ALCS.  Alex Rodriguez (pictured above), had 3 hits in his last 23 plate appearances (a dismal .130 batting average), of which 12 PA’s resulted in strikeouts and no RBI’s.  For someone who is getting paid $29 million this year, it’s no wonder he is greeted by a sea of “boo’s” by his own home crowd.

As an avid fan of baseball, my natural inclination is to think, Give me a $275 million contract, and I could get 3 hits!  And it was in this very sentiment that I discovered an epiphany (and awoke from my 2-month blog slumber)

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Gospel Connection:  Anybody thinks they can do or be better than the next guy.  My gut reaction is to think that I could hit a 95-mph fastball without any practice or experience at least once out of a hundred times (or in this case, four times out of 23 chances).  Or, in many other instances, to think: I could have painted that… I could have cooked a better meal with a can of beans and baking soda… I could have figured that out in half the time…I could have done that with my eyes closed.

In the story of Adam and Eve, we encounter one of these very moments.  If only Eve didn’t eat the fruit, or Adam wasn’t persuaded by his wife to do so too.  Many times I thought to myself: If that were me in the Garden, I wouldn’t have eaten the fruit.  If I was in Eden, I would have obeyed His commands to the ‘T.’  If God had created Nameun and Eve, all of mankind would have been free from the Fall right now…

Therein lies my sin.

I’m sure many of the Israelites shared the same sentiments when they were wandering through the desert without food and little water for 40 years.  But even when God delivered them from Egypt, and after giving them the Great Commandments to inherit the blessings of obedience, they demonstrated infidelity and idolatry time and time again.  The Law actually showed that their own hearts were not immune to the self-desire that Adam and Eve were, and that they too would have encountered a great Fall if ever confronted with the situation.

The beauty of the Gospel is that everyone is a sinner.  No one can do better.  And the only One that actually could, chose not to flaunt it, and instead died for those who boasted that they could.  Now it doesn’t matter “who does better.”  All that matters is getting to know the One who did the best.

Therein lies my hope.