Once a month, I like to point to all the good stuff I’ve been reading, watching and listening to, especially as it relates to what’s going on in the world and in my own life. If you are a regular reader, you may have noticed I’ve been thinking, writing, and posting about the theme of love recently. Maybe you’ve seen an essay on my blog or post on Instagram. We’re finishing up that theme with a round up of resources from around the internet, off my shelves, and even on my own blog.
1. All For Love’s Sake by Kathy Tuan-Maclean for Christianity Today. I love the way this article marches headlong into the third way of love we talked about above. With racial reconciliation as her focus, Tuan-Maclean shows the difficulty of loving someone who is different than us. She offers a framework for how to do the hard work of love in relationships with people who disagree with us, including asking questions, listening, and advocating.
From the article: “Jesus said the world will know his gospel is true if we love one another, love our neighbors, and even love our enemies and persecutors. If followers of Jesus tangibly loved those from different ethnic, racial, class, and political backgrounds, imagine how the world would take notice. Imagine how our world might be healed.”
2. May Every Woman Find Her Marty Ginsburg by Michelle Ruiz for Vogue. This article is about a more familiar kind of love: romantic or marital love. But it goes way beyond that. If you don’t know much about the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg and her husband Marty, you’ll enjoy reading about their mutual sacrifices in their marriage and the support they offered each other throughout their lives. Their story is truly inspirational.
From the essay: “In the outpouring of remembrances following RBG’s death on Friday, it’s become increasingly clear that Marty was Ruth’s not-so-secret weapon; that she may never have been able to reach her full, glorious and iconic potential had she not had a husband who ranked her career as equal to his own. In a career full of legal battles dismantling gender discrimination, Ruth’s own love story may be the best case study for proving the power of an egalitarian partnership.”
3. Charity Singleton-Craig on doing, being and hope on Jenni Lisa Howard’s The Home That Loves Podcast. I recently had the honor of recording a short essay and a few reflections for Jenni Lisa Howard’s new podcast. It was joy to participate, and I especially loved the way Jenni introduced and unpacked my segment. She’s a vibrant host, and her podcast is encouraging and inspirational. I hope you’ll check out this episode and subscribe to the podcast.
4. Real Love Requires a Command by Daniel Harrell for Christianity Today. This article is from a few months ago, but it seems to make many of the same points I was aiming for above, only better. More than anything else, Jesus wants us to love: Him and others. But he also knew how hard that would be for us at times. So he not only commands us to do it, he shows us how.
From the article: “‘If you love me, keep my commands,’ Jesus said (John 14:15). There is an imperative link between loving the Lord and loving your neighbor. There is power too. Christ’s love compels us—both our love for Christ and Christ’s love for us (2 Cor. 5:14). Call us crazy, but chances are, if you’ve ever put yourself out there for the sake of love in obedience to the gospel—loving others as yourself, caring for the poor, confronting injustice, forgiving your enemies, and all the rest—then you’ve likely experienced that power, that spiritual fire, that joy of obedience that energizes you to put yourself out there even more.”
5. Your Neighbor’s New Creed: ‘In This House, We Believe . . .’ by Brett McCracken for The Gospel Coalition. If your neighborhood is anything like ours, you’ve probably seen the signs in neighbors yards claiming:
“In this house, we believe:
Black lives matter
Women’s rights are human rights
No human is illegal
Science is real
Love is love
Kindness is everything:
In this article, McCracken talks about some of the more divisive political implications of each of the phrases, but also the baseline truth that many of us would agree with if given the chance. Despite how you feel about the signs themselves or the messages they purport, this article is a great example of moving carefully through divisions toward common ground. We often have more in common with our enemies than we would ever imagine.
From the article: “You might not share the politics of the people proudly displaying these yard signs, but don’t dismiss their importance. They should be illuminating and convicting for Christians—ultimately a cause to connect rather than argue with your progressive neighbor.”
6. Brother by The Brilliance. Such a great song … with lyrics that help us wrestle with that fine line between our neighbors and our enemies. Click through on the image below to see a video of this song being performed. And if you want a quick look at the lyrics, you can find them here.
7. Bishop Michael Curry | Love Is the Way on The Good Life Podcast. I loved this conversation between Jonathan Fields and the Most Reverend Michael Curry, the Presiding Bishop and Primate of The Episcopal Church. They talked about stress, conflict, and our natural responses of fight or flight. But Bishop Curry also pointed to another way, what he calls the Third Way, or the way of love.
From the podcast: “This way of love must somehow embrace us all. Make the change but make the change in ways that include us all. It would be easy to be self righteous and think I’m standing up for the good cause. That’s easy. What’s more difficult is to stand for what you believe is right and at the same time make space for those who disagree with you in genuine love, respect, and charity. And to hold those two in tension. And to try to hold both of those together. That is the hard work of love.”
8. To My Son: Men Have to ‘Allow Ourselves to Be Loved’ by Michael Ian Black for The Atlantic. This rich and insightful personal essay reflects on the importance of giving and receiving love, especially for boys and men who often are raised to avoid emotions and anything that resembles sentimentality. I like the way the author moves in an out of talking about love and its expressions in gendered ways, ultimately finding that the process of becoming a better man and the practice of love are “the same thing.”
From the essay: “Allowing others to help us is just as important as offering help. This is a gift of our humanity: to give love and to allow others to give you their love. You can plan a funeral and mourn and whine all at the same time. You can be there for a friend on the phone. We’re strong, all of us. And sometimes we’re weak. All of us. Your vulnerabilities reveal you. Let them. When you don’t admit weakness, you close yourself off from receiving the strength of others, which is another way of saying that you close yourself off from love. Instead, you twist the tourniquet a little bit tighter. You grow numb. Trust me. I spent most of my life that way.”
9. Love, not fear, remains by Aaron McKethan for Fathom Magazine. I don’t know about you, but I’ve heard way too many people say that following recommended pandemic-related guidelines (like mask wearing and social distancing) is evidence of “living in fear.” Fear is certainly a very real phenomenon in many of our lives, but there are many other possible motives for following these recommendations, love being one of them. That’s why I resonated so deeply with this article that explores what a “more full and faithful exhortation to refrain from fear might look like in this moment.”
From the essay: “In the COVID-19 era, ‘do not fear’ has become a common exhortation espoused by politicians, community leaders, and Christian commentators. Without more context and instruction, though, I can’t help but wonder how this exhortation is actually heard and understood in this anxious moment. What are we to not fear? What kind of fear are we called to reject?”
10. The Wonder of Love: Why Charity Is the Greatest of All from my blog. In this post, I talk about my interpretation of 1 Corinthians 13:13 and why love really is the greatest. I think it kinda boils down to this: love is the greatest because it’s not just the plan to restore God and his people. It’s the goal.
From the essay: “From the first bite in the garden, God’s plan has been to restore his relationship with us. To get back to a place of eternal, mutual love. Eventually, hope and faith will be unnecessary, replaced by the certainty and confidence of being in Jesus’ presence. But love … love will always be preeminent in the heart of God and his people.”