Nothing Without Love

Brad M. Griffin | Dec 17, 2010

Love isnt just a good feeling. Its an action that requires conversion. ((John Perkins and Charles Marsh, Welcoming Justice: Gods Movement Toward Beloved Community, 41.))

Ever provocative, John Perkins continues his prophetic ministry to the U.S. church into his 80s. I recently read his co-authored work Welcoming Justice: God’s Movement Toward Beloved Community, written with theologian and Civil Rights historian Charles Marsh. A Black and White team, Perkins and Marsh interface around the work most American churches still have before us when it comes to racial reconciliation. A lot of work.

But they are hopeful. And no surprise, but they remind us all that reconciliation only happens in the context of real relationships. I cant be virtually or theoretically reconciled to anyone. Rather, actual relationship grounded in authentic love for another leads us toward reconciliation. And that gives us a peek into the Kingdom Jesus is ushering in.

Reflecting on the earthly ministry of Jesus, Perkins suggests:

One of our biggest problems as Christians is that we want the miracle without the love. We want to see the kind of healing Jesus brought, but we dont want to learn Jesus way of loving broken people. Jesus performed signs and wonders here on earth, but he was also clear that the sign of the church ought to be loveI dont think we can have beloved communities until we learn to love like Jesus loves and make that our main plan for sharing the gospel (p 77).

So maybe not a surprise, but a good reminder: Acting in love is itself a work of Good News.

Brad M. Griffin

Brad M. Griffin is the Senior Director of Content for the Fuller Youth Institute, where he develops research-based training for youth workers and parents. A speaker, writer, and volunteer youth pastor, Brad is the coauthor of over a dozen books, including 3 Big Questions That Change Every Teenager, Faith in an Anxious World, Growing Young, several Sticky Faith books, Every Parent’s Guide to Navigating Our Digital World, and Can I Ask That? Brad and his family live in Southern California, where he serves as Pastor of Youth and Family Ministries at Mountainside Communion.


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