Self love? Meh. (Really?)

It’s safe to say that Christianity has often been indifferent toward self-love. In fact, when I imagine the typically response to the possibility of self-love, I would describe it like this:

Self love? Meh.

Our own Reformed and Presbyterian tradition has often been downright negative about self-love. Within our tradition great emphasis has been placed on our brokenness and our sinfulness and our need of forgiveness – and great emphasis have been placed on the tremendous love of God toward us in Jesus. Our tradition has emphasized grace – everything we receive is through the grace of God – the undeserved love of God.

But in that kind of framework there often hasn’t been a lot of room for self-love. In fact self-love has often been seen negatively. In sermons and in books on Christian faith you will often hear that we are too preoccupied with ourselves, too focused on ourselves – this is an expression of our sinful self-absorption. We are too focused on ourselves and on what we need and what want – so focused on ourselves that we fail to love God and fail to love our neighbour. Continue reading

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Setting her free for self-love…

book cover clippingIn the sixth chapter of my book, Becoming Two in Love, there are three first-person narrative/poetic pieces in which I attempt to give more personal voice to the argument I am making. Here is the piece on self-love in the relationship between man and woman in (their undefinable) difference.

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To be alive in the world is, invariably, to find myself at a loss—to find myself displaced and exiled. And very often I have searched for a rescuer, for someone to palliate my experience of homelessness and exile. Too often, I have required her/woman to provide that sense of home and security and belonging.

I have put her in service of my self-love. I have defined her in terms of my need—someone to comfort, and caress, and provide, and nurture. But defining her in this way, putting her in service of my self-love in this way, has cut her off from her own becoming as woman and human. Who is she? I do not know. She is there, for me. Continue reading