59: Understanding Love By Being Loved | Chap 11 of Misunderstood God

In this episode John and Gregg discuss Chapter 11 of Darin Hufford’s Misunderstood God.  John notes, after having read to this point, that the book does not seem to have any continuity between chapters, which makes it harder to follow.  John also sees interesting connections between this chapter and Episode #33: “God is Not an Idiot.”

Gregg re-read chapters 8 to 10 in considering this chapter, and notes his goal of identifying some of the problematic themes or orientations in order to re-orient towards what seem better formulations or orientations.  So Gregg notes the two issues of Darin globalizing his experience to his readers and also misformulating matters. Also, page 93 seems to be key for Darin as he notes, “imagine my surprise when I discovered that the experience of love is not in receiving it but in giving it.”

John finds this one-sided: surely we also experience (and so understand) love in receiving it!  Gregg’s view is that the Christian’s perspective on loves is necessarily informed by the new testamental description of God: as both sovereign and as Father.  In terms of God’s love for us, as father, this is accompanied by the idea that human love is always responsive to God’s love.  In other words, we know God’s love by receiving it.

Likewise, in terms of God’s truth, as being truly sovereign, this matches the New Testament’s corresponding description of Christians as servants.  So Gregg sees that this this is at odds with Darin’s view, on page 100-101: God’s “purpose is not for us to be servants and messengers for him.  His purpose is for us is to be sons and daughters, and out of those relationships we become the message.”  So Gregg maintains that Darin’s view purports too much love, too little truth, and John notes how Darin seems still to categorize love as something requiring mental assent rather than experience within relationship.

Gregg also highlights the need for fuller context in order to decide when, in certain cases, Darin sets things on their heads.  On the one hand Gregg is open to looking at the matter from the other side, but on the other hand, without more context, Gregg argues that we cannot uphold Darin’s frequent claim that this thing was “upside down” to begin with.  In the same way, Gregg focuses on the need for understanding love from within a love relationship, characterized by a rich reciprocity.  As such, self-love is seen as an essential orientation for Christians.

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