The following is an excerpt from the Introduction of Michael Rose's new book "Becoming Love".
Written to his sons, Michael shares his heart and thoughts about the transforming power of the love of God. He writes in some very practical terms of the impact of divine love for spiritual formation, community, leadership and mission in a way that encourages creativity and innovation in organic life-giving ways.
In this warm, very readable book Michael reminds us that at it's very best, Christianity is really all about love!
“A life is either all spiritual or not spiritual at all. No man can serve two masters. Your life is shaped by the end you live for. You are made in the image of what you desire.” ~ Thomas Merton
The following is a collection of letters I have written to you to share what has so deeply captured my life that I would forsake so much in pursuit. Much of this you have experienced first hand as you have lived and walked beside me through most of this. It has come out through various dinner discussions, at Church and father-son chats we have had throughout the years. I really just wanted to get all these ideas and experiences together in one place and offer them to you as a gift: A gift of love and a gift of my life. Perhaps, if nothing else, you will see that while your dad may have seemed like Don Quixote – chasing windmills – his idealism was not in vain. In fact, I hope you come to see me as a man so deeply kissed by God that he could no longer settle for anything less than Him.
I have been apprehended by what I have come to call the Love Paradigm. The Love Paradigm is a way of seeing, like lenses in eye glasses. It is a worldview which seeks to see and interpret life through the lenses of divine love; to walk, to live from a posture of love in every aspect of life – the kind of love Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 13; the kind of love Jesus would demonstrate by giving His life as a cure for the plague of sin which has ravaged creation.
The Love Paradigm heals our relationship with God. It allows us to see Him as a loving, involved caring God who Himself is the source of love with no duplicity. The Love Paradigm views ourselves and others through the eyes of perfect love, not a sappy sentimentality, illusions of grandeur or “rose colored glasses,” but honestly and realistically, knowing that love changes everything, love heals and love reconciles. Love values healthy relationships and community and spills over and out of lives to life around it. Love hopes, love covers shame, love makes beautiful and love restores.
The Love Paradigm is a foundational life changing paradigm, a new way of being human. It shapes our response to the situations we encounter personally in our daily lives and those events which impact us all on a global scale. It dramatically shifts the way in which we see, relate within and form community. The Love Paradigm renovates the way we understand and approach leadership, mission and spiritual formation. It embraces the very heart of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, which by its very nature is scandalous and overtly confrontational to the dehumanizing power structures of the world. It is a paradigm where foolishness confounds worldly wisdom, where weakness triumphs over power, life conquers death, where mercy rescues justice from revenge, where the least are the greatest, and leaders are servants to all. It is a paradigm where success is demonstrated by our love, not by how much we own and control. It is a paradigm where love itself is its own reward. Through and in and by love we find the freedom to truly be who we are created to be and we find rest.
It is to this end I write and hope you discover in these pages more than just a way of being moral, or a stoic philosophy for life. I hope you find an entirely new way of being human which reveals ways of relating to God, others and our world that honors love and hopefully brings a healthy balance to many areas of life, including heart and head, being and doing. This is not a minor renovation but rather a demolition and reconstruction that reforms the base beliefs of our lives.
My hope is that you will encounter the personification of love.
With all my love,
Becoming Love. Avoiding Common Forms of Christian Insanity is available in paperback from many online book retailers including Amazon and is also available for Kindle.