I spent some time reading Out of Ur this morning (the conversational companion blog of Leadership Journal) and ran across an old interview/article titled “Donald Miller Isn’t Hip: a gospel for people tired of trying to be cool” (from May 15, 2006). Some of you may recognize the name Donald Miller as the author of several recent books, including Blue Like Jazz, but I don’t think it matters if you’ve heard of him or read any of his books because I think what he says in this interview is still fitting for people today; especially for anyone who has observed the Church – whether from the inside or the outside – become too focused on its “image” (trying to keep it clean, or even cool), and in doing this, has misplaced Jesus’ commandment to love others by putting it after their own agendas and beliefs about who or what is worthy to be loved.
I believe that God’s call (and Christ’s witness) to all of us is that we love others, no matter what. This is not easy, in fact, it can get really difficult. (Just think about someone you don’t get along with, then think about loving them with the love of Christ…it’s tough, huh?)
Here is a portion of the interview with Donald Miller:
You’ve said that the church “uses love as a commodity.” What do you mean?
Miller: We sometimes take a Darwinian approach with love-if we are against somebody’s ideas, we starve them out. If we disagree with somebody’s political ideas, or sexual identity, we just don’t “pay” them. We refuse to “condone the behavior” by offering any love.
This approach has created a Christian culture that is completely unaware what the greater culture thinks of us. We don’t interact with people who don’t validate our ideas. There is nothing revolutionary here. This mindset is hardly a breath of fresh air to a world that uses the exact same kinds of techniques.
What’s the alternative?
Miller: The opposite is biblical love, which loves even enemies, loves unconditionally, and loves liberally. Loving selectively is worldly; giving it freely is miraculous.
If love isn’t a commodity, what is it?
Miller: I think of love like a magnet. When people see it given in the name of God, they’re drawn to it. If I withhold love, then people believe I have met a God that makes me a hateful and vicious person. And they’re repelled.
I have two responsibilities to this world, the first is to love; the second is to speak the truth. I can tell somebody such and such a behavior is sin, and still love them. Why not? Why not bring them food, why not hug them, why not have them over to the house? Won’t this only help them understand the truth?
To read the interview in its entirety, click HERE.