April 4, 2013 by Jason Hood
From The Four Loves:
Mrs. Fidget very often said that she lived for her family. And it was not untrue. Everyone in the neighborhood knew it. “She lives for her family,” they said. “What a wife and mother!” She did all the washing; true, she did it badly, and they could have afforded to send it out to a laundry, and they frequently begged her not to do it. But she did.
There was always a hot lunch for anyone who was at home and always a hot meal at night (even in midsummer). They implored her not to provide this. They protested almost with tears in their eyes (and with truth) that they liked cold meals. It made no difference. She was living for her family.
She always sat up to “welcome” you home if you were out late at night; two or three in the morning, it made no odds; you would always find the frail, pale, weary face awaiting you like a silent accusation. Which meant of course that you couldn’t with any decency go out very often.
She was always making things too; being in her own estimation (I’m no judge myself) an excellent amateur dressmaker and a great knitter. And of course, unless you were a heartless brute, you had to wear the things. . . . For Mrs. Fidget, as she so often said, would “work her fingers to the bone” for her family. They couldn’t stop her. Nor could they–being decent people–quietly sit still and watch her do it. They had to help. Indeed they were always having to help. That is, they did things for her to help her do things for them which they didn’t want done. . . .
The Vicar says Mrs. Fidget is now at rest. Let us hope she is. What’s quite certain is that her family are.
December 13, 2012 by Jason Hood
One of the things I love most about church history is the discovery that the “new” is actually remarkably old. Almost everything of value I’ve learned about apologetics, epistemology and the like from Kreeft, Pascal, Van Til, Jamie Smith, Keller and other wise teachers can be found in predecessors like Augustine. Even when mediated (and the following excerpts are from Robert Louis Wilken’s excellent The Spirit of Early Christian Thought, 172-4), Augustine has more to offer a modern Christian than a sailor has to offer an Amish lad.
Augustine notes the indespensibility of “authority,” that is, the need to rely on someone other than self and sense perception. Autonomy is simply not an option in any sphere of life. Self-reliance is as impossible in religion as it is in farming or child-rearing or trusting your mother that your father really was your father (Augustine’s example, not mine, and certainly a very personal one for him).
The acquiring of religious knowledge is akin to learning a skill. It involves practices, attitudes, and dispositions and has to do with ordering one’s loves. This kind of knowledge, the knowledge one lives by, is gained gradually over time. Just as one does not learn to play the piano in a day, so one does not learn to love God in an exuberant moment of delight.
Augustine’s lexicography of love is quite foreign to the emotion-driven definitions of love, but it is quite in line with the Bible’s approach.
With these ideas on the need to rely on authority, Augustine particularly attacked the Manichean tendency to take a posture of criticism and skepticism. We don’t read Virgil rightly, Augutines says, unless we give ourselves to him, unless “we love him” and become his apprentice, so to speak.
Without sympathy and enthusiasm, without giving of ourselves, without a debt of love, there can be no knowledge of things that matter….
By making authority a necessary part of knowing, Augustine shifts the question away from What should I believe? . . . to the question Whom should I believe? that is, Which persons should I trust?
And this leads Augustine not just to trust in God and his Word, but to the importance of “persons whose lives are formed by the teachings,” and of “placing one’s confidence in men and women whose examples invite us to love what they love.”
The knowledge of God sinks into the mind and heart slowly and hence requires apprenticeship. That is why, says Augustine, we must become “servants of wise men.”
In other words, others are highly unlikely ever to learn to love something or someone unless they first see love.1 Comment
April 11, 2012 by Jason Hood
Adoniram Judson had three wives, all incredible women. The first (Ann, also called Nancy) was strong-willed and fiery yet compassionate and godly; the second (Sarah) beautiful and strong enough to engage in frontier mission work on her own after her first husband died; the third (Emily) was homely but good-humored and blessed with strong literary talents. Nancy and Sarah died on mission; all three aided his mission work greatly; and all were loved and celebrated by their husband.
When Adoniram proposed to Emily, he sent her a letter along with a watch. The watch was first given to Nancy when she left Asia for a furlough in the US, and after her death he had given the watch to Sarah (at that time married to another missionary in Burma) as he divested himself of Nancy’s worldly possessions. The letter reads as follows:
January 20, 1846
I hand you, dearest one, a charmed watch. It always comes back to me, and brings its bearer with it. I gave it to Ann when a hemisphere divided us, and it brought her safely and surely to my arms. I gave it to Sarah during her husband’s lifetime (not then aware of the secret), and the charm, though slow in its operation, was true at last.
Were it not for the sweet sympathies you have kindly extended to me, and the blessed understanding that “love has taught me to guess at,” I should not venture to pray you to accept my present with such a note. Should you cease to “guess” and toss back the article, saying, “Your watch has lots its charm; it comes back to you, but brings not its wearer with it“– O first dash it to pieces, that it may be an emblem of what will remain of the heart of
November 14, 2011 by Jason Hood
One of the most challenging aspects of the biblical worldview for contemporary Americans is the Bible’s notion of “love”. Meredith Kline explains:
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all thy mind and with all thy strength” (Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27) . . . .
There is no incompatibility between this demand for love . . . and the obligation of obedience to the multiple prescriptions involved in the mission of developing the kingdom order and carrying forward the kingdom program of the covenant.
It was thus by obedience to the particular requirements of kingdom activity that man would express his love for his Lord.
The meaning of the law of love in biblical covenants is illuminated by the usage of the term “love” in ancient treaties. In these texts it is faithful adherence to the directives of the overlord that is called love.
When swearing allegiance to the suzerain the vassals at times declared: “Our lord we will love.” And a vassal wishing to clear himself of suspicion of infidelity protests that he is the great king’s servant and “friend” (literally, one who loves the suzerain [[JH note: see Jesus' trial, where the crowd threatens Pilate with the charge that he is not Caesar's friend if lets this "king" off the hook, John 19:12]]).
Love in the covenantal vocabulary was not a term for an affective attitude that was resistant to delineation in specific legal obligations.
Moses was simply
echoing the ancient treaty stipulations, even in the qualifying expression “with all thy heart.” That adverbial phrase appears in treaty texts…
That Moses meant by love what the political treaties meant by it is clear, for he at once equates this wholehearted love of God with the conscientious observance of all the words he was commanding Israel–the stipulations, statute, and the judgments (Deut 6:6…)
Jesus as mediator of the new covenant tells his disciples that the one who loves him is the one who has and keeps his commandments (John 14:21; cf. v. 14; 15:14; cf. 1 John 5:3).
August 30, 2011 by Jason Hood
It’s an ode in three parts: epistolary, poetry, and a testimonial narrative.
If anyone thinks they’ve got reason to love their PC, well, I had more. I was of the nation of PCs, of the tribe of laptop; as to the web, an Explorer. As to operating systems, of the eighth generation of Windows (Vista, XP, or whatever was after Windows 7).
But I didn’t consider my PC-ness as righteousness, and I became a Mac user, that I may be found with an Apple, not having computer greatness of my own, but having my own macrighteousness. Still, even though I’m a Mac user, I don’t consider myself to have “made it”. I press on, working to reach that for which I purchased a Mac, forgetting my PC ways and striving to reach what lies ahead. (I bought my wife a Macbook.)
Aiming for Apple like William Tell
Went online and found it tax-free for sale
Now I’m ruling the web like Mac-iavelli
I’ve said goodbye to my PC and even my telly.
A testimonial narrative
No, seriously. I’m now so cool that I went outside and fall started. My habits of driving old Grand Marquise (or whatever the plural is of Grand Marquis) and taking very early lunch were once regarded by an unnamed friend as “old man” style. But because I have a Mac, they are now hip as can be. The local dealerships have sold out of Grand Marquis and even other similar cars, like Crown Vics. All the lunch joints are packed at 10:45.
And no one calls me “sir” around town anymore. No, they call me “Dude”. Thank you, Steve Jobs. Thank you for making me cool.3 Comments
August 16, 2011 by Jason Hood
Against the contemporary American backdrop of Ke$ha singing about love as a drug and Disney platitudes about “true love,” it’s stunning and more than a little uncomfortable to learn what “true love” really looks like. Here’s the context of the love command in Leviticus 19:18 (which is cited repeatedly in the NT):
You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not profit by the blood of your neighbor: I am the LORD. You shall not hate in your heart anyone of your kin; you shall reprove your neighbor, or you will incur guilt yourself. You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.
So there it is. If I don’t reprove my neighbor, I myself will be guilty of lack of love. This requirement is obviously not a blank check to get “all up in others’ business,” even if the command requires an approach to community that would make most contemporary people comfortable. Gal 6:1 applies here: it’s when sin clearly arises that action is required.
I’m not sure how much that will help my kids next time we have some discipline in the house, nor the next time we face a disciplinary situation at church. But if we meditate on this aspect of love, if we teach others about this aspect of love, and if we see Jesus’ rebuke and reproof as acts of love (and not just love for truth but for people), perhaps we can get there…1 Comment
June 29, 2011 by Jason Hood
The imitation of love is obviously an important theme in the New Testament, but the imitation of divine love was not invented by Jesus.
In tight sequence Deuteronomy 10:12-19 contains three references to love, two of which call Israel to imitate God: “[W]hat does YHWH your God require of you? Only to fear YHWH your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him.” Our motivation to love him follows: “YHWH set his heart in love on your ancestors alone and chose you . . .”
Israel loves God in imitation of God’s love, because he first loved her. The circle is then completed as Israel imitates the God who “loves the strangers, providing them food and clothing. You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”
 Our love is not identical to God’s, and not only because his love is perfect and ours is not. Love in the ancient world was a matter of fidelity, and had covenantal and imperial overtones: loving your suzerain, your emperor, was a matter of imperial submission. This is particularly important to bear in mind for a covenant text like Deuteronomy. 0 Comments