Thursday, February 4, 2010

Graham Ward on learning to love unconditionally...

"We cannot love unconditionally – and that makes us prone to error, to failure, to enforcing what we believe is agape on others but is in fact a manifestation of our own weakness. Even to attempt to love unconditionally is an act of hubris – sainthood is not a career choice. We just have to live a life in that abandonment of following. It seems to me that we have got the question of loving unconditionally the wrong way round. In the call – and there is a call – to be perfect in our loving, the question is not 'How can we love?' but more 'How can we accept such love?' Loving unconditionally can only begin when we are able to receive that we are loved unconditionally.

Theologically we can weave subtle and significant narratives about the giving of the gift, but existentially (and in terms of our political discipleship) the question is whether the gift can be received. Only to the extent to which we can receive God's unconditional love for us will we be able to pass it on, pass it forward. To end very concretely: that reception begins by recognizing the levels of self-hatred which have made us the kinds of people we are – and being released from them, as an act of forgiveness."

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