Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.


The Will to Love

I clicked on the "random" button at Blogging Episcopalians (a link to your right) as I do from time to time and found an interesting post the at blog The Propaganda Box: The Tyranny of Love. The movie Imagine Me & You caused the blogger to question our current cultural ways of considering love saying,
Love is depicted in this film as something that just sort of happens to us, the way we might just happen to acquire a disease. Once “love” has set in, it is impossible to do anything but give in to it. Love must be obeyed. If love is not obeyed, our lives will become worthless as we waste away in hopeless marriages. Once one is struck with the happiness of true love, all previously made promises become null and void, including those made before God at the altar of marriage.

If I were Luce, shacking up with this woman who just threw away her marriage vows for the sake of “true love,” I’d be careful to watch my back. Watching this movie made me think quickly of another movie about this sort of “true love” syndrome, Patrick Marber and Mike Nichols’ brilliant film Closer from 2004. The tagline from that film was “If you believe in love at first sight, you never stop looking.” In other words, if love becomes nothing more than the fulfilling of an impulse, it isn’t truly love. It’s an addiction.

What bothers me most about Imagine Me & You though is the way that this idea of love is so easily accepted.
An alternate view is the Christian one expressed by Frederick Buechner who wrote
In the Christian sense, love is not primarily an emotion but an act of will. When Jesus tells us to love our neighbors, he is not telling us to love them in the sense of responding to them with a cozy emotional feeling.
In another book, Buechner wrote,
And then there is love for the enemy—love for the one who does not love you but mocks, threatens, and inflicts pain. The tortured’s love for the torturer. This is God's love. It conquers the world.
We do not have to be merely the victim of our feelings. Perhaps we cannot completely control our feelings, but neither are we powerless against them. Love can indeed be and often is an act of will. We decide to act kindly to some one and then those actions result in better feelings toward the person. What do you think? To what degree is love a choice, an act of will?

In the archives are the sermons All Whom God Loves and A Still More Excellent Way

The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church


  • At 12/03/2006 8:29 PM, Blogger Celeste said…

    I have an idea that not having the warm & cozy feelings with your spouse at all times contributes to the high divorce rate. I agree that our culture promotes those feelings: remember the song that says "...if loving you is wrong, I don't want to be right." Having been married for more than 26 years, I can truly say that it is so beyond feelings. Like the Word says," shall become one..." As J Meyer says, "It's the becoming that's the hard part." It is a process and often involves choosing to love when you don't want to. Choosing to act kindly to someone that we don't think deserves it does change that way we feel about them and the way they may react.

  • At 12/03/2006 11:36 PM, Anonymous Terrell said…

    Well, Preacher Frank, you hit on my pet topic. As the heading on my blog affirms, I am wishy washy on many issues, but love ain't one of 'em. To me love is not about commitment, love is commitment. If love is something that I fall into, if it's just pheromones at work, I don't want it. I want more. My will and hers must be involved.

    I waxed eloquently, or not, on the topic here:

  • At 12/04/2006 6:37 AM, Blogger King of Peace said…

    Terrell I vote eloquent. For others benefit, here is one of the poem's Terrell wrote that he features at :

    I Suppose I Could Have Loved Jane

    I suppose I could have loved Jane.
    And Jennifer often waxed wise and gay.
    You are lovely, true: Were others plain?
    You laugh at my wit: So did they.

    I long for your kiss and your touch
    But passion, wit, beauty are all around.
    Others have kisses as sweet; and as much,
    All and any your charms abound.

    Even now in age I see sometimes
    A glance, a smile, a coy frown
    And think my songs, my artful rhymes
    Could win a youthful night in town.

    Temptations beckon, the world's untrue.
    Our promises keep. My world is you.


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