Tag Archives: Apostle Paul

Between the Lines: Epiphany 4: February 3, 2013

Text: 1 Corinthians 13:1-13

[Love] bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence (Photo credit: publik16)

I write this sitting in a hotel room in Zurich, attending a conference on trauma and transformation.  Others attending these lectures are therapists who work with women who have been sexually abused, most by members of their families who tell them that they love them.  Most have mothers who, while telling them that they love them, look the other way as abuse is taking place.  I can’t avoid thinking, and not only in this context, that many of our messages about love, cultural and familial, are troubling; conflicted at best, evil at worst.

Paul’s list includes love which bears all things and endures all thingsAll things?  Really?

How many women have heard these words as problematic in their own lives?  How many men?

I’m also aware that healing the wounds of such traumas, when it is possible, requires not only skill and wisdom, but love of a particularly patient, kind, and hopeful sort.  Parsing out what is love and what is not is not only complicated and difficult, but essential.

Does Paul’s “list” help us out with this?  How might what he says be destructive?  How might it be healing?

What passes for love in my life, in yours?  How do we know when we are looking at the real thing?  What comes up for you when you hear the words, “love is…”?  What’s on your list?

– Beth Harrison

“Between the Lines” is excerpted from BibleWorkbench, a weekly resource for engaging the biblical story in a new way published by the Educational Center in Charlotte, NC.  For details and subscription information, see About BibleWorkbench.


Between the Lines: Pentecost 11: Proper 17- August 28, 2011

Text: Romans 12:9-21

Hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good…

I don’t suppose I want to argue Paul’s point here.  But in my old age I am not nearly so clear as I was when I was younger about what is “good” and what is “evil.”  Which makes it complicated to hold fast to one and hate the other.  Things are muckier for me these days.

So, let’s explore this.  Take a few moments and out of your own experience, think of a clear example of evil.  And again from your experience a clear example of good.  Reflect on the role of this evil in your life, and perhaps how hating what is evil has worked out for you.  What is the cost of seeing things this way?  What is the advantage of looking at it this way?

– Beth Harrison