The Law of Least Love


Those who are patched in to Living Social/Facebook may well know that last week I had the misfortune of watching that execrable Matthew McConaghey rom-com "Ghosts of Girlfriends Past." I won't go into the reasons why I ended up watching it here. There is no excuse that can remove the shame and disgrace of it all...

It really was the nadir of creative cinema. A shallow, predictable reworking of Charles Dicken's Christmas Carol, with Christmas taken out and replaced with "love/relationships" as the core theme (they kept the snow though!) It might be interesting to contrast this reworking with the Zemeckis version that is out in the cinemas at the moment... but I for one won't be doing the comparison as a) it is yet another 3D epic, and such films are wasted on a son with only one eye, as is the case with my youngest son Ciaran, and b) it apparently will scare the pants off me, something that is not my idea of preparation for Christmas (although it is in tune with the original Victorian "Christmas Ghost Story" tradition that Dickens was tapping into.)

But anyway, why am I wittering on about one film I am not likely to watch and another that I loathed, hated and detested?

Well, in the midst of the detritus that is "Ghosts of Girlfriends Past" is the core idea that the power in any relationship lies with the one who cares less, and the "discovery" by the "hero" that relationships should not be about power, but happiness.

However, that idea of power lying with the one who cares less, or "The Law of Least Love" as some would have it, is a rarely expressed, yet important way of understanding the incarnation of Christ and his role in our atonement. Steve Chalke tried to articulate it subsequent to his clumsy (or tabloidesque) "cosmic child abuse" statement, but essentially what it means is that in any relationship the one who loves most surrenders most power... Hence, in both incarnation and cross we have a demonstration of the Almighty God laying down his power because of his love for us...

As Charles Wesley puts it, he "emptied himself of all but love, and bled for Adam's helpless race."

(ps. I could suggest that there is "cruciform" symbology going on in the film poster of "Ghosts..." but that would probably be taking things a number of steps too far...)


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