Thursday, May 17, 2007

Counter Cultural Love: Introduction to 1 Corinthians 13 - Week 1 (Outline of Small Group Study)

Pop-Culture on Love

by JM

One need only survey greatest hits to see that the American Culture has a love/'hate' affair with love.

First, you have pro-love songs vicariously sung by all love-struck lovers to each other:

I Will Always Love You/ Greatest Love of All by Whitney Houston; Addicted to Love by Robert Palmer; The Power of Love by Celine Dion; Vision of Love by Mariah Carey; Endless Love by Lionel Riche and Diana Ross; All You Need is Love by John Lennon; Yummy, Yummy, Yummy by the Ohio Express.
When the couple breaks up, with ease they change their tune: shifting from singing the praises of love, to pronouncing curses on it. For Example:

Love is a Battlefield by Pat Benatar; Whats Love Got to Do With It by Tina Turner; Since You’ve Been Gone by Kelly Clarkson; Cry Me a River by Justin Timberlake; Don’t Wanna Fall in Love by Green Day; Love Will Tear Us Apart by Jose Gonzales
I could only imagine what a alien race oblivious to “love” would make of such shifting definitions. They might make the following conclusions:

Combine Riche & Ross with Gonzales: Endless Love + Love Will Tear Us Apart = Endless Tearing. Sounds painful.

Combine Houston and Clarkson: I Will Always Love You + Since You’ve Been Gone ('I can finally breath for the first time') = Love is an Allergy. We Get Asthma Everytime There’s Contact.

Combine Palmer and Green Day: Addicted to Love + Don’t Wanna Fall In Love = An addiction akin to Meth or Crank.

Combine Dion and Benatar: The Power of Love + Love is a BattleField = A scene from World War II – Saving Private Ryan from Dion and Benatar
Culture on Love

The kind of confusion trivially and humorously illustrated through pop-culture is illustrative of a fundamental misunderstanding and dilution of Love as originally intended. Here are some cultural perversions of Love:

1. Eroticism: How much sensual pleasure will I get?
Article - The New York Times: Children, Media, and Sex: A Big Book of Blank Pages

Article - The Baptist Press: FIRST-PERSON: Troubling stats about teen sex
2. Conditional Covenant Making: How can I guard my interests in this relationship?
Divorce Statistics: Click Here
Causes for Divorce:
Extra-marital affairs - 27% (29%);
Family strains - 18% (11%);
Emotional/physical abuse - 17% (10%);
Mid-life crisis - 13% (not in 2003 survey);
Addictions, e.g. alcoholism and gambling - 6% (5%);
Workaholism - 6% (5%)
3. Narcissism: How can I mask self-love with my love for others?
Being Kind to others to ensure Kindness in return
When Kindness isn’t returned, I cease to be kind
4. Minimalism: What’s the least amount I can get away with giving?

5. Tolerance: What values will I comprise to ensure people love me?
Counter-Cultural Love

Paul’s Treatise on Love in 1 Cor. 13 was penned as a corrective to polluted notions of Love imported from their culture; a culture not much different from ours, and therefore a chapter that will do much to correct our own faulty notions of love. We’ll divide this correction in the following way.

1. The Primacy of Love (Vss.1- 3): The Measure of True Spirituality.

2. The Grammar of Love (Vss.4&5): Love is a Verb which has an Object and a Subject.

3. The Boundaries of Love (Vss.6&7): Love is Not a Doormat, but it may be a Stepping Stone.

4. The Expressions of Love (Vss.8–12): Spiritual Gifts are Love’s Temporary & Inadequate Expression

5. The Cultivation of Love (Vss. 13): Towards a Trinitarian Love (faith hope and love)

6. The Frontier of Love: Group Outreach
Incarnating Love:Three Challenges To Our Group
Memorizing 1 Corinthians 13 – Verses 1-3 this week
How To Memorize Scripture:Click Here
Weekly Campaigns of Love in the Workplace
One Group Outreach