I picked up a journal from a seminary in Texas and was drawn to an article that promoted the idea of eros (a Greek word translated as passion or love) as a key element is spiritual formation. I was bothered by the shoddy scholarship of the article (trying to impose meaning beyond what linguistic studies would be comfortable with) and the overt accommodation of the argument to ideas that seemed to be a rehashing of certain views of Gnostic Christianity rather than speaking to true Biblical faith.
OK, so what. Why care about the article? If there is one thing our culture has problems with, it is desire. Our consumer oriented culture is driven by creating desire. Many of the current debates concerning the Christian faith are driven by desire more than the actualization of the Scripture to our current setting. The blatant ignoring of Scriptural references or the creation of misleading interpretation of these references in at least one current debate is soundly rooted in a view that sees eros (desire) as justification for ignoring centuries of church tradition and accepted hermeneutical processes. A liberated eros is seen as being of more significance than tempered, mature discipleship formation.
It is sad that are those within the church who have allowed eros to be elevated to the status of true love. When John writes God is love he is not referring to God as eros. Eros seeks to satisfy the self. Eros strives for the ecstatic. If eros is restricted, it rallies to its defense license disguised as freedom and preference as liberty. It makes itself out to be the victim while it seduces the unaware into acceptance. It been very effective in this practice (Even as I write this post I feel the need to be guarded or risk being viewed as a bigot or as someone who has an abnormal psychologically based fear). Eros demands for itself acceptance no matter what the Scripture has stated in the past.
True love does desire. However, what true love desires is grounded in truth. What true love desires is subject to sacrifice if that is what is required to be obedient to the truth. True love is about a desire of service to the object of one’s love rather than being served.
These are difficult days for the church. One community of faith after another have accommodated to the demands of eros without regard for the consequences of doing so. Human history has shown this does not end well. If we are to be loving Christians we must be vigilant in regard to how we allow our faith to be defined and the words we use to do so.