I will be to intermittently featuring old posts from my political blog, baldilocks, and from my Christian blog, Turn not to the Right Hand nor to the Left. As I said in the last post, the old baldilocks site is still available to the public, but TNTTRHNTTL is not; I only have it on my hard drive.
Before, I thought it was best to separate my Christian faith walk into another blog site, but I have changed my mind. The fact that Jesus is my Lord and my Savior is integral in my offline life, and so it shall be online.
The original version of this post was offered at TNTTRHNTTL on November 7, 2010. This version is edited yet again and has a couple of additional paragraphs. During the time in which I composed the old version, I was trying to free myself from a very toxic relationship and what follows below are concepts which I knew in my head to be true. However, it took a little while after that for these things to be cemented into my heart.
Recently, a friend of mine mentioned the concept of being “caught up”--being “in love”—that which is defined as Eros, "passionate love in the narrow sphere of sexual desire and longing." Since that conversation, I have been thinking about how we sometimes call ourselves being “in love” with another and how such relationships almost always fail when one or both parties fall out of "love."
Much of what we call being “in love” is, in reality, delusional selfishness if the other two types of love--agape and phileo--are not shared between the two parties. Minus friendship and, most importantly, minus the desire for growth in the Holy Spirit for one’s beloved, Eros is mere fantasy and when that fantasy fades in the face of reality and you find that you really don’t like the other person and you really don’t care whether that person lives or dies—or whether that person will have to experience the Second Death, the relationship ends.
It seems to me that when a relationship is based solely on Eros, two people aren’t really having a relationship with each other. On the contrary, each individual is having a relationship with himself or herself. At first, neither person wants to see the “beloved” with characteristics apart from those which personal fantasy projects; and we certainly know the definition of projection: “the attribution of one's own ideas, feelings, or attitudes to other people or to objects.” He is relating to his fantasies—most likely sexual—and projecting them onto her. She is relating to her fantasies—most likely emotional and/or status-related—and projecting them onto him. Initially, neither person sees the other as a separate individual with needs and wants of their own. One might as well masturbate.
Inevitably, fantasy gives way to reality and the “beloved” turns out to be a real person who is different than our fantasy man/woman. And when fantasy has been disabused, it can sometimes get ugly. As I said to my friend, when we discover that the person is different than our fantasies—when we discover that the other person is a real person rather than our self-created phantom--we often get angry at that person for not being what our fantasy is or we keep trying to make that person into our fantasy. Both are losing propositions.
The Bible calls this “vain imagination” and it is necessary to my point to give the definition of the adjective ‘vain:’ “having no real value : idle, worthless .” Additionally, the pertinent definition of the noun ‘vanity’ is useful: “inflated pride in oneself or one's appearance : conceit.” (Emphasis mine.)
It always seems to come back to pride, doesn’t it?
I once heard someone liken an intimate relation between a man and woman--read: marriage--to a properly baked cake with icing. The relationship is the cake with proper ingredients--spiritual love and a fully-formed friendship--and sex is the icing.
An insufficiently baked cake will taste awful and will melt the icing. And icing with no cake tastes sweet--at first. But after a short period of time, one becomes sick of it.
At any rate, this concept of being “in love” seem to be an inversion of one of Jesus Christ’s two greatest commandments: to love one’s neighbor as one loves oneself. If you know that you have needs, wants and desires, you can be sure that others who you may claim to love have them as well—and you can be sure that many of those needs, wants and desires are different from your own.
Therefore, if you are using another person to gratify your own personal desires--physical or otherwise--regardless of his/her own and when your desires have been sated, you walk away, you are committing a grave sin, almost an act of hatred. You are treating that person as an animal or a thing and not as a sentient being. And the irony of this is, the person to whom you are doing the greatest harm is yourself—your own soul. Repeatedly hurting others and being hurt in this manner builds up deafness to the Word of God and to the Holy Spirit contained in the hearing thereof—it produces fear rather than faith and we all know the origin of fear.
We see this pattern over and over again in so-called love relationships—using others to gratify oneself or to promote self in the eyes of other human beings. People who are familiar with the biblical proscription of sex outside of marriage but don't want to follow it seem to think that God is trying to keep us from having fun. But, personal experience and observation should tell us otherwise—that God prescribes this standard to keep us from hurting each other and hurting ourselves.
And, it seems to me, that the “fun” waiting to be had can be so much richer and fulfilling when one cherishes the person having that fun also—when one loves and likes the real person’s spirit and soul rather than relating to the phantom in one's own head.
I don’t, however, know that from personal experience—but I will. :)