Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Order and Love

In part of our coffee conversation the idea was raised that in congregational life orderliness and love are at odds. Orderliness can have many forms such as to be nice and neat about beliefs and practices, about forms and structures, or about ways of simply doing community. Love is about acceptance.

Orderliness requires the exclusion of any who might not conform. When the dominant "order" is love, then there is the inclusion of diversity in belief and practice, forms and structure, and divergent ways of being a community.

The unavoidable reality is that there is a lack of orderliness in humanity, and in our spiritual condition. To love will mean not easing our discomfort concerning the orderliness of another that seems disorderly to me.


Tim said...

Just a thought to the contrary. It seems to me that orderliness asks us to show respect for the values of the community. It asks us to be patient when I don't like the way things are going or when there is not as much getting done as I would like. Orderliness asks us to humbly yield our own demands, tastes, and preferences to those of the community leaving no room for a puffed up view of "my way". It asks us to surrender individualism. Could it be that orderliness is an expression of love rather than at odds with it?

Greg Newton said...

Well said, Tim.

You've defined "orderliness" as group oriented rather than individual, and made it identical to acceptance of others - which was the point I made in the post.

You're not offering a thought to the contrary . . .

Mark said...

Sounds like the only thing contrary here is the definition of orderly. Tim and Greg, you are both saying the same thing. The orderliness of being patient, humbly yielding to others, and surrendering individualism can often times give the appearance of a lack of orderliness.