Categories
Blog

Nonviolent No More

May 1, 2020. Trees in Rogers Park, Chicago are heralding the imminent arrival of summer with the white and green of maturing buds and tiny leaves.

Protestors rally today yet again at one of several housing facilities for immigrant children operated by Heartland Alliance. These protests, founded on the premise of the lie that Heartland’s facilities are “jails”, happen with enough frequency that some of the employees of Heartland have grown accustomed to it. On this day, however, the protesting takes a startling turn.

Fireworks, colored smoke, people climbing fences, police officers, flying paper, graffiti.

Within moments an unassuming home in the midst of Chicago’s north side is smothered with spray paint, smoke, and forceful virtue signalers.

This is no longer a peaceful march. This is vandalism and violence against the place that immigrant children had called home.

With triumph reminiscent of an epic prank being performed by a popular college fraternity, an individual appears on the rooftop and drapes a canvas over the top of the house with the words “CLOSE THE JAILS OPEN THE HOUSES!”

Cue more fireworks.

The rooftop trespasser poses, in hopes of this being an iconic moment, on a house for immigrant youth as the protestors demand in unison for houses for immigrant youth.

As if this isn’t anticlimactic enough, footage emerges of a child being endangered at the event.

Behind the Smoke of Violence

“Join us 4 some troublemaking and fun”

It would appear the Little Village Solidarity Network group may be a primary group behind the organizing of the violent event, as per the video that has been distributed in multiple accounts, including local activist Aldo Reyes’ Instagram:

However, a look at the Facebook event revealed that this event was considered a group effort:

None of these groups have condemned the violence or dissociated from this event after the fact. Some of these groups (especially the Little Village Solidarity Network) were praising the violence.

Research into several of these groups uncovers a recurring thread of Anarchist philosophies promoted by some of its members if not by the organization itself.

Here is a screenshot from one of the protestors’ Instagram:

For the history buffs, this tune sounds familiar.

History Repeating Itself

Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

George Santayana

Literally a century ago people were doing things like this, albeit with deadlier results: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarchism_and_violence

Not all Anarchists are violent, mind you (in fact, the Wikipedia article linked above references how some Anarchists pushed for pacifism), but the concept of violent Anarchism appears to be rebirthing in the United States, as can be seen by the repeated violent behaviors of Antifa and the behaviors of grassroots organizations that allegedly have no hierarchy.

Free Scare Heartland Kids!

Did these protests help free the allegedly jailed children? No. Did they open houses? No, they vandalized a house. Did the children, who these organizations claim to love, experience distress from other protests like this one? Yes!

To even the casual observer, these acts of violence and agitation are counter-productive. These activist groups are demonstrating how blind and ignorant the modern strain of anarchy is making the far left. It’s no longer about truth but rather about feeling good about one’s self for following through with a false tale of saving the good people from the evil greedy bad people. A generation from now this will be all but forgotten.

And then it will happen again.

Categories
Blog

How can we make the web better?

“Cancel Culture” is all the rage, and rage is a currency on Twitter. It’s getting so out of hand that this joke (from Twitter, no less) hits a little too close to home.

I believe many content creators, digital natives, and developers would be willing to admit that web experiences became notably more hostile between 2016 to 2019. In a recent example, Stack Overflow treated one of their most valuable Jewish community members with undeserved hostility, doing so on a Jewish holiday, admitting to it, then dragging their feet to reinstate her. As of October 19th, she is still not reinstated. Other community moderators have now stepped down because they don’t trust the company.

It’s not only hostility (not to mention the outright garbage) that is making web experiences ugly. The economics of social networks are causing frustrating user experiences. Also, companies and developers are imposing system constraints on their Internet products too quickly without first considering basics like security and the necessity to constantly change the system based on ongoing needs. Consequently, privacy leaks, broken trust, and lawsuits abound.

After being in web development in both full time and part time roles for 8 years, in observing both delightful and ugly experiences as both a user and a builder, these are some personal opinions on how we can make the web a better experience for everybody.

Be Nice

Did someone behave offensively on a website or on social media? If you know them, address it personally with them and with grace. If you don’t know them well enough to address the issue well, just stop following them and move on. No need to give them any more of your time, and no need to publicly vent. I’ve made that mistake before and it didn’t serve any redeeming purpose.

Name calling should also have no place on our websites or social feeds. Even if the other person is legitimately wrong. Politically-charged terms such as “libtard”, “nazi”, and “racist” have almost never solved a problem or changed someone’s mind. They have almost always fed unnecessary conflict.

If you are a Christian, then this step is not optional:

If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

Romans 12:18, ESV

Increase Decentralization

Web users should ideally have a “home base” for their web presence. That home base must be 100% self-owned. Right now, we’ve become too dependent on social media platforms to own our home bases for us. While social media has its place to be something of a “bullhorn” to market our ideas and products, we should work harder to decentralize the content of the World Wide Web by running our own websites based on personal interests.

Are you not coding-savvy but want to build a digital home base of your own? I recommend either Squarespace or WordPress.com.

Are you coding savvy or at least IT savvy? Try self-hosting WordPress. I currently use Digital Ocean but aspire to host it from a Raspberry Pi at home later next year. Don’t like WordPress’ templates? Roll your own with Gatsby or a custom front-end consuming WordPress’ data. Don’t like WordPress at all? Use another solid Content Management System such as Drupal. For nerds, the possibilities are myriad!

Abandon Truly Bad Digital Products

If a product is truly bad, stop using it. They don’t deserve your business and the majority of the time there are good alternatives. For example, are you done with Twitter but want a microblog? Roll your own by writing short form content on any blog platform of your choice or join a Mastodon server.

Don’t post on social media about how much you hate a product or dislike a product’s CEO. Especially if you intend to still use that product. If you are saying you hate something but still use it (such as Facebook or Uber) then you don’t actually hate it.

Stop virtue signaling. It’s gross.

Simplify and Strengthen Web Engineering

Warning: this section gets a bit nerdy

Businesses tend to focus first on delivering features within unrealistic deadlines and with overly engineered systems. Right now, it is trendy to break apart systems into a bunch of smaller running systems, known as a Microservice Architecture. While there are many excellent uses for this architecture when it comes to scaling systems to meet high demand, there are costs as well. A major data aggregation company has written a blog post about why they have moved away from this architecture in their specific use case. Monolithic systems could become all the rage again for many use cases!

Another trend I’ve encountered is to use a framework for no reason. While frameworks can simplify code and make life easier, I’ve also seen developers adopt a large framework without proper coding conventions. It resulted in a tar-pit of writing more (and buggier) code than if they had adopted no framework! If the team doesn’t know why they’re using something and doesn’t know how to leverage what they’re using, that is not a good sign.

Another key issue to avoid is too much dependence on the individual knowledge of a developer or architect. If your team cannot operate with a key team member missing, including the team lead, your project is already in serious trouble.

Conclusion

The World Wide Web has some excellent and delightful things, and has lowered the barrier to fun and thoughtful creativity. It’s also overdue for an overhaul in many places. Users and developers alike have both the relational means to do this as well as the tools.

Categories
Logic

Bulverism

Assume that your opponent is wrong, and explain his error, and the world will be at your feet.

You must show that a man is wrong before you start explaining why he is wrong. The modern method is to assume without discussion that he is wrong and then distract his attention from this (the only real issue) by busily explaining how he became so silly.

In the course of the last fifteen years I have found this vice so common that I have had to invent a name for it. I call it “Bulverism”. Some day I am going to write the biography of its imaginary inventor, Ezekiel Bulver, whose destiny was determined at the age of five when he heard his mother say to his father—who had been maintaining that two sides of a triangle were together greater than a third—”Oh you say that because you are a man.” “At that moment”, E. Bulver assures us, “there flashed across my opening mind the great truth that refutation is no necessary part of argument. Assume that your opponent is wrong, and explain his error, and the world will be at your feet. Attempt to prove that he is wrong or (worse still) try to find out whether he is wrong or right, and the national dynamism of our age will thrust you to the wall.” That is how Bulver became one of the makers of the Twentieth Century.

– from “Undeceptions”, by C.S. Lewis

Last Friday, my coworker reads a news announcement about Netflix claiming that they will be pushing back against sharing passwords. However, they don’t say how they would do it. My co-worker openly speculates that they might be bluffing. While this is a pure speculation on her part, the response catches my attention. Another coworker immediately says she is “projecting” because she doesn’t have a Netflix account.

In other words, since my coworker has no Netflix account, my other coworker assumes that my first coworker is wrong, and proceeds to say why she is wrong on the basis of my co-worker’s personal preference.

This all being said, I will admit that in this context the response is possibly meant in good humor. However, this logical fallacy is commonly used in contexts that are no laughing matter.

Bulverism is a variation of Ad Hominem, which dismisses arguments by discriminating on basis of the person making the argument. Ad Hominem tends to focus on who the person is (or was), Bulverism focuses on an attribute of the person.

Bulverism is often spotted when someone says something like “you just say that because you…”

A known political example is to say that men can’t have or voice an opinion on abortion. It presupposes the opinion to be already wrong (or wrong to express) on basis of sex.

The best way to avoid Bulverism is to consider the argument on its own merits, even if the person giving the argument is someone you dislike or disagree with.

Categories
Blog

How to avoid posting fake news on social media in 3 easy steps!

If you value truth, then you know as well as I do that it is important to curb sharing lies. Even partial ones! Fake or sensational news is possibly more engaging on social media than clickbait ads used to be. They are usually making money off of you from website ads or else they are trying to manipulate your beliefs.

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Exodus 20:16 (ESV)

Here are 3 easy steps to avoid posting fake or sensational news on your social media accounts:

it’s so easy to click that share button or to copy and paste something

  1. STOP. Don’t post something simply because it confirms your personal beliefs. Just stop. The fancy term for this is “confirmation bias”. We all have done this (I’m guilty as charged!) and it’s so easy to click that share button or to copy and paste something. It requires self control to stop ourselves.
  2. VERIFY. Check if you can verify it from a primary source. Then corroborate it by checking for a second primary source that confirms the verified source’s claim. Then do due diligence by checking against any claims made to the contrary.
  3. DISCARD. If you cannot verify the source, discard the post automatically. If you cannot corroborate the source, use careful language to indicate you are quoting a primary source (and not making a statement of fact, since a fact has not been established). There is a difference between saying “he/she says this is X” and saying “this is X”, but even then, if the source is not truthful, you run the risk of spreading something not truthful.

Primary Sources

primary sources can still lie

What is a primary source? News sites and social media posts are not primary sources, unless a primary source directly posts on one of those platforms. For example, a YouTube video saying a politician wasn’t bullied is not a primary source. However, if that politician writes a guest article or a Twitter thread about their experience of being bullied, that is a primary source. At this point, it is up to your discretion of whether or not the primary source is truthful, because primary sources can still lie. This is why corroboration is also important.

Corroboration

What is corroboration? In short, it is someone reputable who was there or who read the information being claimed and is saying “I saw it too.”

For example, a Fox News or CNN article including a video snippet of Donald Trump saying something is not corroboration. Videos can be selectively edited by either of these news outlets to fit their respective agenda. Seeing an unedited video on C-SPAN, however, is a way to personally corroborate something Donald Trump said at a speech.

If a study observes evidence to the contrary, that is not conclusive.

Another example is if a friend or news site says something is or is not healthy for you. There are medical journals that document scientific studies in detail. If the claim has been verified by means of a double-blind study (which means there was an unbiased oversight of the test, thus a primary source plus corroboration) with a large study group, it is possibly a valid observation. If a study observes evidence to the contrary, that is not conclusive. If the study in question was not double blind and/or the study group is small or the study was short term, it is highly likely to be error prone. A library with database access to these studies is your friend.

How about you?

How much do you value the truth? Has a news source tried to fool you before? How about a meme page or a YouTube video? Did you find primary sources to the contrary? How did those you know who fell for Fake News respond when shown evidence to the contrary? Did they dig their heels in? Apologize but keep the fake post up? Remove the post? How much do they value the truth?

Categories
Blog

Social Media Outlook

Mark Zuckerberg has made what appears to be an about-face on his stance for user privacy. Given his company’s rather bold project to spy on users, this seems a surprising move to the casual observer. However, not losing more users would be a good reason to ambitiously change your company’s business model.

Regardless, I have several personal predictions about how social media will shift in the next 2-4 years. Many of these predictions assume that Mark is telling the truth:

  • I thought Twitter was going to die by 2016 or 2017. I was wrong. Twitter appears to have a second wind thanks to Donald Trump, artists, and software developers. However, if Twitter doesn’t add an edit button and enforce their own rules, their second wind may not last.
  • Instagram and WhatsApp will continue to grow.
  • Facebook is the new MySpace. It’s messy, convoluted, and low-EQ people have dumped a huge mess into this platform. Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp will be receiving more attention by Facebook going forward and will have cross-network messaging enabled in the next 2 years. WhatsApp users can talk to Instagram users, for example.
  • Social Media ads will become less effective for most vendors on Facebook proper. However, in-line ads and bot suggestions will continue to thrive on Messenger, and may expand to WhatsApp.
  • Ad targeting may become restrictive. I would be surprised if the strategy and algorithms didn’t dramatically change.
  • Blogging software and platforms, such as WordPress, will grow in popularity as people find ways to own their platform and data.
  • Search engine ads may see a resurgence.
  • A blockchain will arrive for rapid international money transfers over social media. It won’t stop there. Hopefully it will build on what the Brave browser is trying to do. It will reward users for seeing ads on social media platforms. Users will use awarded blockchain tokens to buy things and reward content creators directly. These tokens will be convertible to fungible money and/or Bitcoin.
  • Badguys will still find creative ways to do badguy things. Fake news will still spread because low-EQ or low-IQ people will still repost them. Foolish journalists and politicians alike will still blame Facebook for those problems.

What do you think? You think social media will be taking some interesting steps forward, or not? Will we truly see positive changes for privacy on social media?

Categories
Photography

My Commute – February 18-20, 2019

Categories
Blog

Hello, WordPress.

For the last two and a half years WordPress has been my go-to platform when making websites for others. After holding off all this time I’ve finally decided to make my own website.

I’m excited! WordPress has new features that I’ve been wanting to take for a spin, and social media is simply not the place for long-form, thoughtful content.

The main theme of my blog is exploration. You can expect to see my explorations in programming, photography, Christian theology, Zionism, and other personal reflections deposited here. I hope that it may be helpful as a resource or inspiration.

Can’t wait to get writing!

Categories
Theology

Dust Shakin’

Introduction

I was given an opportunity to share the gospel to an unbelieving Jewish friend.  He did not accept the gospel but kindly listened, asked good questions, and thanked me for sharing my beliefs with him and for listening about his beliefs.  It was a good discussion and I’m hoping to this day that seeds were planted.

Within a few weeks, some friends let me know that they didn’t like it that I was friends with this Jewish unbeliever. They told me that I should have cut things off with him since he didn’t believe the gospel and was living a homosexual lifestyle. According to them, one of several reasons given was that I should have obeyed the “biblical command” to “shake the dust off my feet”.  Since we weren’t in a sandy Middle Eastern setting, I was informed that this scripture meant I needed to simply have nothing more to do with my Jewish friend. They meant well, but they were leaning on their American, conservative, Baptist cultural background instead of looking at simple, scriptural context at that moment.

The flesh wants us all to tack on what a scripture “means to us” or to lean on “that’s what I was taught” or to find a sermon or article on the Internet that agrees with our bias in order to feel good about our lifestyle choices and preferences, whereas when believers in Jesus are yielded to the Spirit in them, then they can begin to honestly pursue the question “what did God mean in this scripture?”

A Greek word study is unnecessary for this article because the false teaching is so sloppily constructed that a simple contextual study is sufficient.

The commands given

These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay. Acquire no gold or silver or copper for your belts, no bag for your journey, or two tunics or sandals or a staff, for the laborer deserves his food. And whatever town or village you enter, find out who is worthy in it and stay there until you depart. As you enter the house, greet it. And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it, but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town. Truly, I say to you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town.

Matthew 10:5-15 (ESV)

In this context, Jesus was commanding the 12 disciples to shake the dust from their feet if nobody in a house or town would receive them or listen to what they had to say as they entered exclusively Jewish towns and healed the sick, raised the dead, cleansed lepers, and cast out demons, among other things.  This command was not given here in the context of the New Covenant believers in general.  If it was, then contextually we are specifically commanded to avoid sharing the Gospel to non-Jewish people, to do exorcisms, and to do healings.

However, it is unlikely to be applicable to believers since this was a specific mission for the 12 disciples.

And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in their belts— but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics. And he said to them, “Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you depart from there. And if any place will not receive you and they will not listen to you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent. And they cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them.

Mark 6:7-13 (ESV)

Once again, in context, if someone rejects Jesus’ disciples then they were to shake the dust off their feet.  Once again, they were also given authority to perform exorcism, and were not permitted to put much preparation into their journey.  This was a separate mission from Matthew 10, since in this mission they were permitted to bring a walking stick and in Matthew 10 they were told not to.  Once again, if this scripture applies to New Covenant believers in general, then New Covenant Believers are also commanded to travel in pairs, are given authority to perform exorcism today, are commanded to not prepare food or clothing (other than what they were wearing) when going to towns and cities to share the Good News, and are commanded to stay at only one house for the entirety of a stay in a given city or town.

However, it is unlikely to be applicable to believers since, once again, this was a specific mission for the 12 disciples.

And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. And he said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two tunics. And whatever house you enter, stay there, and from there depart. And wherever they do not receive you, when you leave that town shake off the dust from your feet as a testimony against them.” And they departed and went through the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere.

Luke 9:1-6

Given that the commands and context are the same and given that both this passage and the Mark 6 passage are immediately followed by Herod’s reaction, it is likely that this is the same story.

The historic usage

And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. And the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region. But the Jews incited the devout women of high standing and the leading men of the city, stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district. But they shook off the dust from their feet against them and went to Iconium.

Acts 13:48-51

The one time that we see believers shaking the dust off their feet as a testimony against unbelievers, it was when the Jewish people of a given city disrupted their ministry, persecuted them, and drove them away.  It was NOT done simply because someone who was steeped in their sin heard the gospel didn’t believe right away.

Conclusion

Changing a specific command to a metaphor, and changing the offending audience to someone who doesn’t believe the gospel and lives a sinful lifestyle is to ignore or neglect the reading of these passages in context.

I do have some concern for those who have taught this false teaching, since the scripture says:

…we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.

James 3:1
Categories
Theology

Bad company in Ancient Jewish Thought

Credit goes to my friend Sam Stephens, who provided review and thoughtful ideas. A few sentences are verbatim from his input.

Introduction

Should Christians avoid befriending unbelievers?  A common passage referenced by Christians regarding the befriending of unbelievers is 1 Corinthians 15:33. Here are three popular translations of the passage:

Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”

(ESV)

Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.

(KJV)

Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”

(NIV)

The assumption made is that befriending an unbeliever is to hang out with bad company.  Does Paul consider unbelievers (including sexually immoral unbelievers) to be inherently bad company?  What was Paul talking about in that section of 1 Corinthians 15?  And what does “bad company” mean in a Jewish context?

What is “company”?

The Greek word for “company” in 1 Corinthians 15 is the only occurrence of the word in the New Testament.  The Greek word is ὁμιλία (“homilia”) from where we get the word “homily” (another word for “sermon”).

Given the variety of lexical definitions and translations available (look up Strong’s Greek number G3657 if you want to see them all), the best way to anchor in a higher likelihood of an accurate lexical definition of the word is to observe the usage of the Greek word in Jewish literature that was highly probable to be in use during Paul’s time.  The Septuagint (which we’ll refer to as LXX going forward) is the best source since it is the Greek translation of the Old Testament that is quoted verbatim by authors of the Greek New Testament.

As it turns out, ὁμιλία is used 4 times in the LXX! Two of them are in the canon (LXX contains some non-canon, if you didn’t know already).  We will focus on the canonical uses but quickly cover the non-canonical too.

The first occurrence is in Exodus 21:10. It is the Mosaic covenantal law regarding men having a polygamous martial relationship in which one of the women is a Hebrew bondservant.  The translation of ὁμιλία is in bold:

If he takes another wife to himself, he shall not diminish her food, her clothing, or her marital rights.

(ESV)

If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish.

(KJV)

If he marries another woman, he must not deprive the first one of her food, clothing and marital rights.

(NIV)

There is strong agreement across the translations on the meaning of ὁμιλία in this passage: an intimate, sexual form of “company”!

The other occurrence is in Proverbs 7:21, regarding the seductress who entices the foolish boy. Again, the translation of ὁμιλία is in bold:

With much seductive speech she persuades him; with her smooth talk she compels him.

(ESV)

With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him.

(KJV)

With persuasive words she led him astray; she seduced him with her smooth talk.

(NIV)

Once again, strong agreement on the word meaning in the translations.  It’s communication, but of a sexual nature.

In the non-canonical LXX passages it is used in the context of being close to wisdom as a husband being close company with a spouse (Wisdom of Solomon 8:18), and it is also used to describe a party involving drinking and “revelry” (3 Maccabees 5:18).

In biblical Jewish literature, this word is always used to mean company of a particularly intimate nature. Within the scope of the LXX it’s used for marriage, drinking buddies, or sex.

So what was Paul talking about?

We must marry the Jewish lexical use with the context of the passage.  Pun intended.

In the context of verse 33, Paul is saying that a hedonistic lifestyle is logical if the resurrection isn’t true.  However, being in company with people for the purpose of loose living is known to be bad for you, so therefore hedonism is false.  Which also means the Corinthians, who have been tolerating sexual immorality in their own congregation (1 Cor. 5), must needs stop living like hedonists and live in the light of the resurrection!

If you do not subscribe to the above contextual interpretation, there are two other probabilities:

  1. The “bad company” may be referring to the “some” who “have no knowledge of God” in verse 34.
  2. The “bad company” may be referring to the person asking “how are the dead raised” in verse 35.

For these two warnings, perhaps the warning is a bit more dire: Simply engaging in a close way with people who doubt God’s ability to raise the dead (by extension, people who do not teach proper doctrine) can itself lead to morally sinful living, even if that idea wasn’t on the table to start with.

The end is the same, though. The “bad company” is not friends who are unsaved or horribly sinful. It’s close conversation motivated by a desire to be like people who willfully disbelieve God.

Did Paul believe that unbelievers were inherently bad company?

It is contextually clear in the New Covenant sciptures that Paul allows for believers to at least have some degree of association and to even have meals with unbelievers who are sexually immoral, idolaters, and who even take advantage of other people!  Avoiding to even eat with such a person is reserved for those unrepentantly practicing this lifestyle while claiming to be believers.

It is clear that sexually immoral, idolatrous, and even exploitive people are not inherently the “bad company” of 1 Corinthians 15:33 unless they are working to seduce you to sin, or if you are trying to hang out with them for the purpose of disobedience.  The scriptures warning us to not participate in the sins of our unbelieving friends are numerous!

In conclusion, Christians are NOT being commanded in this passage to avoid friendships with unbelievers (including the sexually immoral). This common misapplication of the passage ignores the passage’s surrounding context and the historical Jewish usage of the word for “company”. An appropriate use of this passage is for warning people who are in relationships with either professing believers or unbelievers for the purpose of going along with their sin. Being in such relationships will corrupt character.

Categories
Theology

What is love?

I frequently hear the phrase “falling in love” and “falling out of love”.  It is very common even within Christian circles for people to assume that love is an emotion: something that happens (like a lightning bolt or a chemistry experiment).  It is perfectly reasonable to reconsider a dating relationship if it is certain one will not be happy if the relationship grows into the lifetime relationship of marriage.  However, many marriages miserably fail because of the assumption that if the associated emotions are missing, then love must be absent, and therefore the lifetime commitment made at the wedding should be reconsidered.

Jesus the Messiah is the embodiment of perfect love and therefore the prime example. Ultimately, love is a choice that, while emotions are definitely involved, transcends emotion to commit selflessly to others.

When Jesus was about to be sacrificed for our sins, he experienced strong emotions that stressed him.  He naturally did not want to go through with this.  Nobody would.  He pleaded to his Father:

Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me.

Luke 22:42 (ESV)

Yet he knew what his mission was, let the love for his father and for his creation transcend his feelings, and conceded:

Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.

Luke 22:42 (ESV)

Even after his concession, and even after an angel ministered to him, he still experienced agony:

And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

Luke 22:43-44, ESV

Yet the Messiah still chose to complete his mission, became the perfect sacrifice for our sins, and changed history for the better ever since.