Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Simmering Brain Juices: Or being a collection of thoughts on listening, loitering, contraception and love

Because it is after 11:30pm and therefore the literary brain juices are starting to simmer....

So I read both more and less than I let on. Like a few of my acquaintances, I enjoy merely listening to thought provoking conversation without anyone knowing that I am around, if that can be managed. (If the reader must know, Pastor Questioning can also serve this function when concerns do not weigh down my spirit.) It may seem weird for the loud, always-talking truthquestioner to confess a desire to listen - but it is so. I've always had this love of listening, but it is not a love of listening for the sake of listening. No, I love listening for the sake of learning, for the sake of feeding the voracious mind that sometimes manages to stay between my ears instead of flying away up in the clouds.

Some (glances pointedly at Nick Ig) may have discovered that I enjoy food immensely and make it my business not to miss a meal - or a dessert. Yet, even that delight of my body in it's sustenance pales in comparison with the craving of my mind for the delight of words of insight and profundity. At FOR YOU, I was shocked to find that I could devote my entire meal time to reveling in giving attention to the words of pastors without even missing the food. Indeed I did not even want the food! Even now on the occasions where a conversation plumbing such depths continues nearby, I find myself spellbound, tied to my seat, listening. It is with the utmost reluctance that I allow myself to be called away from the savory feast; but I must remind myself that it is not my Lord who speaks and Martha is sorely pressed for assistance.

All this to say that I purposely loiter (when I have spare time and energy, or must satisfy the listening/thinking craving) around people and blogs which tend to stimulate hard, demanding thought-labor on my part. But I seldom make my presence known. What would be the point? If I comment, the philosophers might feel it an annoyance and take their precious words elsewhere. Besides that, the moment I open my mouth, I expose my utter ignorance. In addition, I find few that truly understand or share my enjoyment in the twists and turns of hearty conversation about ideas and realities. For those who do not understand, my behavior could perhaps be quite puzzling and I might find non-existant motives impugned to myself to explain my loitering and commenting habits. For this reason I evesdrop on conversations and spy out other blogs as inconspicuously as I can. When I do comment, unless it is a person I am totally comfortable with, the comment is more with an aim to benefit the other person rather than express my own thoughts. There are exceptions.

(I guess, were I to be perfectly honest, I am often afraid of what other people might think of me and even more of what they might say. I know this is not right, but it is a very, very real fear. Would that my sinful heart could trust a little more.)

But sometimes, I find that I must think about some of the things which I read and hear. And in order to work through a rather large "think", I find it helpful to write. So I will write....

....about love.

Understand that I am taking you along on a developing "think". Who knows whether the ending conclusion I make after this post is completed will be drastically different - yes! maybe even contradict what I will here write. But the the "think" must be thought.

week-long intermission. Now I am back.

Almost two weeks ago, a certain post on the Four and Twenty Blackbirds caught my attention, abruptly, and for some unknown reason reminding me of a puzzling think which had begun about the time I first began to frequent the Emmausite youth blogs. Accordingly, I returned to the source of the source just in time for my train of thought to run itself off the tracks. But Pastor Stuckwisch's recent post recalled my previous ruminations.

So, the question is: Is there such a thing as "love at first sight" in the true Christian sense of the word "love"?

My first tendency would be to sarcastically say, "No. Of course such a concept is silly sentimentality." But is it?
Of course, I would not deny "infatuation at first sight". Some people are simply attractive and draw our attention and admiration. But is that true "love" which gives itself to it's neighbor, as Christ does to his church, not seeking to be served but to serve? I think not?

But wait! Is it impossible that a person could truly seek to serve their neighbor as Christ does from the moment they first meet? I think it would be foolish to pronounce this impossible. In fact, it just occured to me that perhaps we are all called to "love at first sight", yes, even before first sight, for our neighbors. Sometimes this means that we deny ourselves from satisfying the desires of what the world calls "love" in order to serve in true love.

So, I would not scorn the concept of "love at first sight" properly understood and defined. But I think there is another facet as well. Love is not just a warm, fuzzy, genial feeling of happy-go-lucky-ness with the world and all who are in it. Love has an object and acts for that object.

In some cases, the object is a brother or sister in Christ, other times, it is a sibling, a parent, a spouse. In each of these cases, the actions motivated by love find different forms of service. Obviously, I do not serve my brother as I do my mother. The form of service love takes in acting is determined both by the respective vocations of the two individuals and their respective personal needs.

But how can you fill a need when you do not understand that a need is present? This is where communication and understanding plays a big role in love. You must understand a person in order to recognize in what areas the love Christ gives to you can serve them.

But here's the problem. You don't understand or truly "know" a person the moment you set eyes upon him/her. Learning to understand better, though worthwhile, is difficult, and slow. Add "infatuation at first sight" to the mix and "getting to know" a person becomes even more difficult.

So I guess the point I'm trying to get at is that Love finds its place in service and service is limited until a person becomes better known. If one were to presumptuously assert that he/she "loves" a person (particularly in the romantic context) before he/she knows the other well, it might easily be said that the one making the assertion "loves" a person who does not exist - loves the person created out of his/her own mind.

Anyway...I'm not real certain about the last paragraph, but I'm toying with it.

Another blogpost caught my attention tonight, bringing back to my mind a rather sad comment I heard while eavesdropping:

A good friend was talking to a group of ladies and happened to mention several families at Emmaus who are blessed with five or more children.

The immediate response was: "Oh my ..." followed by silence. Then a Lutheran lady spoke up. "Don't they know about birth control at that church?"

Unfortunately, this is not shocking, though disheartening. One would wish that all Lutherans, yes! all Christians were duly catechized on life and reproductive issues. I wish I were so catechized. But at least I know that children are God's good gift and not to be spurned, avoided, or thrown away but received with thanks.

But I've stayed up an hour later than I promised myself I would. And the brain juices have kinda gelled up into a sticky mess. So I bid my dear reader, "Good Night."


Ninja Master Nick-Ig said...

hmmm very deep stuffs here. First i am amazed ho wyou can think well enough to make such a deep post at such a late house. Secondly I agree with the love at first sight thing. I do think that it is possible to think that you love someone when you first see them because they are so beautiful, or handsome, or whatever but I don't think that anyone would be have a good marriage or relationship if their love was the so called Love at first sight.

Rev. Rick Stuckwisch said...

Interesting late-night thoughts, Truth Questioner. Thanks for calling our attention to these ruminations.