JLP Digital Publications - Odessa Ont. 1999
In February 1984, when she came to speak at Queen's University, Virginia Mollenkott gave a powerful definition of the experience of grace. "Grace is knowing that there is nothing you can do to make God love you more. And there is nothing you could ever do that would make God love you less." In this century many Christians have learned to base their assurance of God's love on this unmerited grace of God. A favorite hymn at the top of the charts has been "Amazing Grace." But very few who sing that song could explain to us what grace is. In this book we will define grace as any expression of the love of God.
God has made humans to enjoy many kinds of love. We love food, children, friends, pets, music, novels, detective stories, history, flowers, collecting antiques, play, sports, walking, swimming, climbing, horror movies, TV soaps. We also fall in and out of love. And there is nothing wrong with this rich smorgasbord of loves. We believe in a "God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment" (1 Timothy 6:18).
We might call our smorgasbord personal enjoyment love. But this book is about Creative Love. And we will define Creative Love as caring about the freedom of the other. Parents who love their children move from enjoying their children at home to an overriding longing for their freedom to move and relate to others. When a man says "I love you" he could mean "I want the personal enjoyment of a one night stand." The kind of love that sweetens a long marriage is where he and she both care about creating the freedom of the other.
Freedom in this sense is not something that we have, but something that is created. Strong minded people can create their own space to be free to do what they want, but this is still a form of personal enjoyment love. What we have in mind in the following chapters is creating the environment, relationships, and inspiration needed for the freedom of our children, our friends, our enemies, and all the peoples of our world. And every one of these aspects of creative love is an expression of grace.
These facets of human creative love are inevitably imperfect. They easily twist into selfishness. At their worst they could become a form vicious manipulation. But we have sufficient pointers to imagine what God's creative love could be like. Peter called it the many expressions of God's grace, "the manifold grace of God" (1 Peter 4:9) Which means that the freedom God has in mind for us is multifaceted.
A difference is that God is a Trinity of three Persons, each concerned for our freedom in different ways. And it is by experiencing these three facets of the love of God that we in turn are further empowered to love the way God loves. "We love because He first loved us" (1 John 4:19).
Chapter 1 Creating Environment
Chapter 2 Creating Relationships
Chapter 3 Creating Inspiration
Chapter 4 Creating Heaven
Appendix Creative Love Theism