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Fether

Traditional Christian Passion / “I love Jesus”

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I remember on my mission to the south, we came across countless Christians that just loved Jesus. They would shout it from the roof tops and proclaim their love to everyone around them. It was so intense that you could approach someone mowing their lawn, tell them you are representatives of Jesus Christ, and they would immediately stop what they are doing and start spouting off half quotes Bible verses and proclaiming the goodness of God.

This wasn’t just holy rolled Pentecostals (though they took it to an impressive level), but traditional level headed Protestants and people who seemed to be members of fairly conservative churches. 

I remember attending a mega church once. The Christian rock started and people of all walks of life and all incomes (the church was between 2 drastically different wealth class neighborhoods) placing their hands on their hearts and swaying back and forth. Raising arms in the air and praising God. All to “Our God” by Chris Tomlin.

My thoughts towards these experiences were often times at least a little judgmental. I found myself being annoyed that do often people would proclaim their love... but they never seemed to do anything about it... which I guess is a problem to them because many churches teach that all you have to do is believe and you are saved.

Why do we not experience this same level of emotion in our own church? Should this be something we ought to seek? Are we lacking in that raw love we see many Protestants carry with them everywhere? Or perhaps is this show of immense motion the symptom of loving Christ but not knowing where or how to focus that energy? Much like a toddler who struggles to explain that he wants to watch toy story 2, not 4. Is the teaching that all you need for salvation is to accept Christ limiting the amount of love they can trurly show?

Why is it we have such conservative speech and song lyrics when it comes to Christ. Our speech about our savior is very pointed, careful, and as literal as we can be. However Jamie Grace is making songs about Christ that sound like Justin Bieber’s recent hit single (seriously, is “Hold me” a a cheesy teenage love song or a song praising Christ?)

I think about this often, however I always get bogged down in trying to make sense of what my question is and what may be right or wrong. why is it we don’t see this in our own faith. My thoughts and opinions on this are no where near as complete as I want them to be. Hoping someone can share some insight on this topic.

TL;DR:

Why do traditional Christians have more passion about loving Christ and shouting his name. Should we be seeking to adopt that passion? Or maybe adopt it but adjust it to be more deliberate and meaningful?

Edited by Fether

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32 minutes ago, Fether said:

Why do traditional Christians have more passion about loving Christ and shouting his name. Should we be seeking to adopt that passion? Or maybe adopt it but adjust it to be more deliberate and meaningful?

I don't really know if they do or not.  It is certain they may "display" it more.  But that isn't necessarily an indication that their passion levels surpass ours. 

We're told that we are to do our performances in secret that the Lord may reward us openly.  We are supposed to worship in our hearts, and let our lives be the light to the world.

Yes, words matter.  And we certainly can express in word our reverence, love, and devotion to the Lord.  But we don't do so "unto boasting".

It's about observing moderation in all things.

Additionally, maybe we do express it much more than you may be considering.  People and cultures have different ways of expressing our feelings.  This carries over into the display of devotion and worship.  It may just be that we display it differently than we'd display excitement over a really cool movie.

It goes back to the earlier thread about the burning in the bosom.  We have these fleeting, enervating, and ultimately meaningless feelings about things of temporal worth.  But the consistent, edifying, and truly meaningful feelings about things eternal are so much more important.

But two things I need to point out. 

First, I do believe there are those from other faiths that also feel these more eternal, more real, feelings about the Saviour.  But many of the more superficial displays you mention are simply that.  Displays.

Second, If you, yourself, have not yet felt this powerful, yet calming passion for the Lord, you need to obtain it.  And you need to continue to dip into that well of prophecy.

Alma 5.  Can you feel so now?

When I met my wife, I had a burning passion for her that was admittedly, partially fueled by lust.  She really was the most dazzlingly beautiful woman I've ever met.  But over the years, the fires of youth have died down somewhat, and it has largely been replaced by an enduring tenderness that is so filled with passion that there is no way to physically or verbally express it.  and it truly lasts forever.

Edited by Carborendum

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"If ye love me, keep my commandments."

When it comes to talking about loving Christ, less is more, and actions speak infinitely louder than words.

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CORDELIA

Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave
My heart into my mouth. I love your majesty
According to my bond, no more nor less.
 

LEAR

How, how, Cordelia? Mend your speech a little,
95Lest you may mar your fortunes.
 

CORDELIA

     Good my lord,
You have begot me, bred me, loved me. I
Return those duties back as are right fit—
Obey you, love you, and most honor you.
Why have my sisters husbands if they say
100They love you all? Haply when I shall wed
That lord whose hand must take my plight shall carry
Half my love with him, half my care and duty.
Sure, I shall never marry like my sisters,
To love my father all.

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So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

Do displays of devotion and excitement feed the Lord's sheep? If so, they might be true signs of the love of Christ. If not, then they are not.

I have no argument against those who express their love and devotion to their Savior in a manner different from mine. But those who do so publicly, to be seen of men, have their reward. If their true intent is to love and worship the Lord, they should hear and obey his words on the matter.

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11 hours ago, Carborendum said:

I don't really know if they do or not.  It is certain they may "display" it more.  But that isn't necessarily an indication that their passion levels surpass ours. 

This and rest of the post echo my thoughts as well.

How / to what extent any emotion is portrayed is very much influenced by culture.  Think Middle Eastern funerals and professional wailers, versus cultures where it's expected that the family "show a dignified face" at the funeral: both families are feeling the same degree of loss for their loved one, they're just displaying it in public differently.  You see the same thing with the ways people display affection for somebody they're interested in marrying.  Interverts and extraverts.

Likewise, with our love of the Lord.  Some cultures do this very loudly and dramatically (like some Pentecostals) and some are way more reserved than even us LDS (like Quakers).  I'd say all love the Lord, it's just a difference is display.  

Edited by Jane_Doe

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I recall a Sacrament meeting talk where the speaker said that going to church and saying you love Jesus will no more make you a Christian than loving cars and sleeping in a garage will make you a Chevy.

 

The Traveler

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I don't mean to judge our good Christian friends because I think many are sincere and earnest in their beliefs and will eventually accept the fullness of the gospel. But if I had to contrast the emotions felt between those  who have the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ and many Evangelical Christians it would be the difference between two destitute homeless people where one is handed a million dollars and the other is offered a good paying job. The joy of each is real but it's not the same joy. The new millionaire never experiences the essential element of hope. One day he's hopeless and the next day he's "all set." That inexperience with hope and the effort required to sustain it results in something more akin to giddiness than the deep reverence that comes as a person day in and day out pleads to the Lord for saving. I think there may also be some self deception at play as well. As much as I'm sure the Spirit will testify to them that Jesus is their Savior we know it can't be supportive of the idea that salvation is a foregone conclusion and so that belief probably requires constant reinforcement from themselves and each other because there is none from the Spirit. Though I do think there is something we can learn from them about being more open with our beliefs and willing to share with others.

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Many critics of the church argue that we don't count as "Christian" because we don't have crosses on display everywhere. 

But when I ask if the open display of a cross automatically makes a person "Christian", they always either waffle or become deeply offended. 

There's a department store here in the town I live in where 1 - 3 times a year you can literally get crosses and other religious symbols out of one of their vending machines. Drop in your $0.50, turn the crank, get the plastic bubble that comes out, pop it open, and you have a cross or Virgin Mary icon. It's meant to appeal to kids who are religious, but since it's a regular old vending machine it doesn't ask what your faith tradition is before you drop your money in. It just takes your money and dispenses product like it's supposed to... unless it's jammed up or broken or something. 

I often have to use this as a metaphor to remind people that all too often, the louder someone is about how much they "love" Jesus, the more likely they are to be the kind of person Jesus would have to dress down. Whether it's the people who presume that they're the "correct" kind of Christian just because of the church they go to or the people who use their professions to hide their sins, it's not enough to go off of the symbols and trinkets. You have to go off of how they live their lives and what they do in the community. 

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On 3/14/2021 at 12:59 AM, Fether said:

Why do traditional Christians have more passion about loving Christ and shouting his name. Should we be seeking to adopt that passion? Or maybe adopt it but adjust it to be more deliberate and meaningful?

Yes we absolutely should have that passion. I agree with @Carborendum that the sentiments expressed should resonate with us, and if they don't Alma 5 should provide us with some introspection.

I'm not convinced that the forms or manifestations are necessarily the one true display of this. In the Book of Mormon we read of a culture that passed out when experiencing conversion. We read of it frequently enough that we know it wasn't unusual for that culture, but it's also clear that it wasn't universal. I wonder if this is simply a case of a different religious culture meming (using the original meaning of meme) behavior for Christian love?

I wonder also if this cultural difference is in some ways derived from some of the rhetorical elements prominent in the religious communities. @prisonchaplain has mentioned before that Christian leaders have tried to grapple with potential male alienation that occurs when you focus on "a relationship" with Jesus (technically the word is a perfect descriptor, but casual usage brings the sort of baggage women love and men hesitate over). The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has gotten a reputation for being works-focused and I don't think we're shy about having to "learn our duty" and serve God through serving others. It's a more masculine approach, and perhaps a way of showing love that more husbands can relate to. That said, I think there's room at the communion table for those who show love through "words of affirmation". I can acknowledge the passion underlying their love language and hope they can see the passion that underlies mine.

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@Fether,  I've got some stories for you. :)

 

Today my family went to The Johnson Space Center (NASA) with some relatives who are visiting for spring break.  They went into a Whataburger for lunch.  As they stood in line to give their order, a woman dressed like a sister missionary (as they described her ) stood beside them and opened the Bible and began shouting loud enough for the entire restaurant to hear.

Quote

Repent ye!  Repent ye!  For there is no time left...

It was obviously not the KJV because of the language.  But it was a long passage that she read.  And everyone around her was quite patient.  They figured when she was done, she'd sit down or something.  But she didn't  She began over again.  Everyone started getting uncomfortable and maybe a bit annoyed.

Eventually, the lady behind the counter realized that she was NOT with my family and took their order.  She then called over the manager because she didn't really know what the protocol was with this.  As soon as the manager came over she stopped, closed her Bible and left.

The manager looked at my family (because she was standing right next to them, no social distancing) and said, "Oh, so she wasn't with you?  I'm sorry.  I thought she was with you and she was praying over your food or something."

My family was all thinking the same thing, "Did you actually hear her?  I don't know if you've ever heard a prayer over food before.  But that ain't it."

After all was over there was a guy at the table next to them dressed in a NASA flight suit who said,"Well...she was right."  The family nodded in agreement.

***************************************

A pair of missionaries were invited to a church where they had a rock band (drums, electric guitars, keyboard/synth, etc.) (Add on a sidecar, electric guitar.  We'll be a trio.  Baby makes three-o).  Many people were called upon to sing a song.  At some point, they figured they'd ask the missionaries to sing a song too.

They got up and sang (ta-da) I Am a Child of God.  The band didn't really know what to do.  The drummer tapped a few times throughout each verse.  The Guitars kind of played a chord or scale here and there.  But they seemed very uncomfortable -- kind of as uncomfortable as my family at the restaurant.

****************************************

Do we need to be more like other churches?  I don't think so.

Edited by Carborendum

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On 3/15/2021 at 8:13 PM, Carborendum said:

Do we need to be more like other churches?  I don't think so.

Articles of Faith 13;

13 We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.

 

The Traveler

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