Oh So Shallow

“Just when I think you’re the shallowest man I’ve ever met, you somehow manage to drain a little more out of the pool.” Elaine, on Seinfeld, episode The Implant

Ah, selfish Eros love… When it comes to dating, I can be very shallow. Like Seinfeld, there are dozens of arbitrary reasons I wouldn’t want to be with a woman: Smells funny, not attracted to her, uses bad grammar, sordid sexual history, doesn’t like Futurama… Not very Saintly of me.

Now, I’ve been rejected by women arbitrarily, so I’m pretty sure this goes both ways.  He’s got moobs, he talks too much, he thinks too much, he’s a nerd, he dresses like a hobo… He has deep seated resentment of his ex that he hasn’t worked through yet. Ok, that last one’s not so arbitrary. I have to deal with that one.

This is the nature of romantic love.  It really is arbitrary, at least on the surface.  The heart wants what it wants. I like this painting, you like that painting.  You can cope with country music, I hate it and would rather eat lint.  You’re Charismatic, I’m a Dispensationalist.  Whatever…  A meld requires the application of personal preferences, desires, and even faith.  It’s part of who we are and what makes us tick.  We have to groove with the person we want to groove with.

You probably don’t want to tell someone why you’d reject them though.  That has consequences.  Now you’re a pig.  There is no answer to that except, “Yes.”  Eros is picky. Agape love is a whole other story.

EROS LOVE – Governed by Desire

“By Eros I mean of course that state which we call “being in love”…. The carnal or animally sexual element within Eros, I intend (following an old usage) to call Venus…

…But, it will be replied, the thing is serious. Yes; quadruply so. First, theologically, because this is the body’s share in marriage which, by God’s choice, is the mystical image of the union between God and Man. Secondly, as what I will venture to call a sub-Christian, or Pagan or natural sacrament, our human participation in, and exposition of, the natural forces of life and fertility— the marriage of Sky-Father and Earth-Mother. Thirdly, on the moral level, in view of the obligations involved and the incalculable momentousness of being a parent and ancestor. Finally it has (sometimes, not always) a great emotional seriousness in the minds of the participants.

But eating is also serious; theologically, as the vehicle of the Blessed Sacrament; ethically in view of our duty to feed the hungry; socially, because the table is from time immemorial the place for talk; medically, as all dyspeptics know. Yet we do not bring bluebooks to dinner nor behave there as if we were in church. And it is gourmets, not saints, who come nearest to doing so.” C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

AGAPE LOVE – Unconditional Love

I regret that I can’t find an actual quote from The Four Loves to expand here, but I can summarize.

Agape love is the love that comes from God, demonstrated by Christ, in the way he lived, the way he died, and in his resurrection.  Agape love says, “I love you.”  It doesn’t say, “I love you if or when..”  But God rejects sin, you say?  Yes, indeed he does.  But he loves sinners.  A follower of Christ must love with this love.

How Do We Blend The Two

It would seem like there is a very wide gulf between selfish erotic love and selfless agape love.  That’s really true.  That’s why God limits sexual union to marriage.  Marriage is signing on the dotted line.  It says, “I love you first, before my selfish desires.” Then it is blessed by God.


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