You’ve probably heard it said that there are two types of people in the world — those who believe there are two types of people in the world and those who don’t.
It’s nice when we can keep things in neat categories. Feels safe. As I was finishing up seminary, one of my mentors would review my sermons before Sunday and tag them with that familiar anagram, KISS (you know, “keep it simple, stupid”). We like it when things are simple. You’re either a Republican or a Democrat (or more to the point, conservative or liberal). You’re a Believer or you’re a non-Believer. You’re either in love or you’re out of love.
Of course, this isn’t the case at all. We may gravitate toward polarization because our neurological and emotional makeup naturally seeks to keep it simple. But in reality, it’s pretty gray. We’re independent. Or spiritual. Or curious. Or confused.
And love — that’s definitely a gray area. It’s big and mysterious and often feels like it comes with a lot of anxiety. We know what it looks like ideally — it’s there at every wedding, like a scene right out of a fairy tale. The reading of one of the best known biblical passages from I Corinthians: “Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy . . . is not proud or arrogant . . .” You know the text.
And it’s true. Love is all those things. But we are not. We’re human and fallible and proud and scared. We come into the world wild and curious and then slowly see who we are in other’s eyes. And it can get confusing.
I remember Valentine’s Day, third grade. That morning I carefully sorted through my stack of cards. Choices had to be made — what does this card say and what does it not say? You didn’t want to give the wrong impression. Never give a girl a picture of a car or a boy a ballerina. When in doubt, go with a monkey. The cards with “Be My Valentine” were the intimate ones — so use them very sparingly. And, just to be safe, your best buds simply got a note on the card that read, “You know what I mean.”
And the most dangerous of all were those candy hearts — so many potential misunderstandings . . . “Uh-oh,” and “What’s that?” and “Let’s go.”
At the end of the day, I’d go home with my tinfoiled, red crepe paper shoebox with 18 monkeys, a couple of cars, and a misplaced ballerina.
It’s easy to get polarized in our world. But I think we miss one of the greatest realities of our existence when we try to keep things in neat categories, when we try to KISS. This Sunday I want to suggest we live in the midst of love and we are created to love. But then, maybe you’re like a lot of people, you either agree with me or you don’t.
“A Great Big Love”
at the nine:thirty-nine celebration
featuring Elizabeth Wills
(debuting songs from her newest recording)
and at the eleven:eleven celebration
with music from James Taylor, Elizabeth Wills, traditional Gospel
and the Revolution Ban
Come early for refreshments and then join the celebration. See you Sunday!