Magazine article Anglican Journal

An Amazing Transformation

Magazine article Anglican Journal

An Amazing Transformation

Article excerpt

WHEN I first arrived at the doorstep of Anglicanism--damaged, dusty and bedraggled from my journey as a runaway from a fundamentalist upbringing--I couldn't really use the word "God." Like many others who grow up in the suffocation of fundamentalism, the word conjured images of an anthropomorphized being whose mood ranged anywhere from teenage-y angst to one bent on creating suffering for the sake of suffering.

My Anglican spiritual mentor at the time asked me what it would be like to replace the word "God" with the word "Love," as "God is love" (1 John 4:8). The practice changed my church and spiritual experience for the better, almost immediately. Passages and liturgical references that used to send me into what I call "fundy fear mode" began to soften. They felt safer to my wounded soul. In the end, replacing "God" with "Love" allowed me to integrate them as one, so that I actually ended up preferring the word "God" because it was a more specific, intentional manifestation of "Love."

How does this relate to 1 Corinthians 13? Well, I confess I am one of the people who glazes over whenever this passage is read--be it at a wedding or regular service. I vacillate between reacting with an eye-roll to what I consider to be its overuse, to plunging myself into a sea of guilt at my lack of ability to live up to what feels like a laundry list of seemingly unattainable attributes. See, I feel pretty competent in my ability to embody maybe two or three at a time, but at my count, there are 15 characteristics of love in the passage. …

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