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ramblings of an unknown psychiatrist

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Lover or Prostitute?

Posted by Dheeraj Kattula on November 1, 2009

A number of years ago, I had the privilege of teaching at a school of ministry. My students were hungry for God, and I was constantly searching for ways to challenge them to fall more in love with Jesus and to become voices for revival in the Church. I came across a quote attributed most often to Rev. Sam Pascoe. It is a short version of the history of Christianity, and it goes like this:

Christianity started in Palestine as a fellowship;

it moved to Greece and became a philosophy;

it moved to Italy and became an institution;

it moved to Europe and became a culture;

it came to America and became an enterprise.

Some of the students were only 18 or 19 years old–barely out of diapers–and I wanted them to understand and appreciate the import of the last line, so I clarified it by adding, “An enterprise. That’s a business.” After a few moments Martha, the youngest student in the class, raised her hand. I could not imagine what her question might be. I thought the little vignette was self-explanatory, and that I had performed it brilliantly.

Nevertheless, I acknowledged Martha’s raised hand, “Yes, Martha.” She asked such a simple question, “A business? But isn’t it supposed to be a body?” I could not envision where this line of questioning was going, and the only response I could think of was, “Yes.” She continued, “But when a body becomes a business, isn’t that a prostitute?” The room went dead silent.

For several seconds no one moved or spoke. We were stunned, afraid to make a sound because the presence of God had flooded into the room, and we knew we were on holy ground. All I could think in those sacred moments was, “Wow, I wish I’d thought of that.” I didn’t dare express that thought aloud. God had taken over the class. Martha’s question changed my life. For six months, I thought about her question at least once every day. “When a body becomes a business, isn’t that a prostitute?” There is only one answer to her question. The answer is “Yes.”

The Church today, tragically, is heavily populated by people who do not love God. How can we love Him? We don’t even know Him; and I mean really know Him. This should not be. We are commanded to love God, and are called to be the Bride of Christ—that’ s pretty intimate stuff. We are supposed to be His lovers. How can we love someone we don’t even know? And even if we do know someone, is that a guarantee that we truly love them? Are we lovers or prostitutes?

I was pondering Martha’s question again one day, and considered the question, “What’s the difference between a lover and a prostitute?” I realized that both do many of the same things, but a lover does what she does because she loves. A prostitute pretends to love, but only as long as you pay. Then I asked the question, “What would happen if God stopped paying me?” For the next several months, I allowed God to search me to uncover my motives for loving and serving Him. Was I really a true lover of God? What would happen if He stopped blessing me? What if He never did another thing for me? Would I still love Him?

Please understand– -I believe in the promises and blessings of God. The issue here is not whether God blesses His children; the issue is the condition of my heart. Why do I serve Him? Are His blessings in my life the gifts of a loving Father, or are they a wage that I have earned or a bribe/payment to love Him? Do I love God without any conditions? It took several months to work through these questions.

Even now I wonder if my desire to love God is always matched by my attitude and behavior. I still catch myself being disappointed with God and angry that He has not met some perceived need in my life. I suspect this is something which is never fully resolved, but I want more than anything else to be a true lover of God.

So what is it going to be? Which are we—lover or prostitute? There are no prostitutes in heaven, or in the Kingdom of God for that matter, but there are plenty of former prostitutes in both places. Take it from a recovering prostitute when I say there is no substitute for unconditional, intimate relationship with God. And I mean there is no palatable substitute available to us.

(Dr David Ryser)


7 Responses to “Lover or Prostitute?”

  1. fakegod said

    No, a prostitute does what she does because she loves money, so really she’s a lover.

  2. Dheeraj Kattula said

    Dear Fakegod,

    I define love as ‘positive other centeredness’.In that sense a prostitute is a lover of money.He/she is not the lover of his/her client, though he/she may make love.Of course you can understand making love and loving are two different things.

    The arguement in the post is about humans not being able to love God in fullness.It is difficult to love,without having something in return.It is a challenge/call to love God with all heart, mind and soul.

    You may not understand it as you are fakegod.The real God loves you dearly.

    God bless you.

  3. AMN said

    Author Unknown???

    Is not love influenced by other factors as well? What if your love were true? But what if someone you love, loved the same God differently (I am not talking about different religions), would that influence your love for the same God?
    What if you were forced to love God differently? What then? Would your love, your feelings for that same God change?
    So irrespective of how God treats you, wouldn’t such factors influence your love? Or is it that love is beyond all such influences?

    • Dheeraj Kattula said

      Ya.I do not want to take credit for something I have not written.I copied and pasted from a forwarded mail,which too acknowledged that author was not known.I search for its source today and found it to be Dr David Ryser.I also got his email ID hope it works.

      You have made few very interesting points.

      1.You mentioned ‘factors that influence love’,I think it deserves a lot of thought and research.

      2.How would love play itself in triangle of 2 humans and God? Or a quadrilateral of 2 humans and 2 different gods?
      These are interesting questions.May I frame it in a different way.Would ‘love’ among humans affect ‘love’ towards God and Love towards God influence love towards humans?

      I believe it does.Both ways.That is why traditionally religions prohibit marrying out of religion,for it might drift a believer away from God to his/her lover’s God/World.At the same time I believe the love of God commits us to truly/unselfishly love others.

      3.Is love beyond influences?(The first question in different words)

      I believe love is not just a feeling but an act of the will.I mean it is not emotional but also volitional.What affects volition,I do not know.Personally my feelings are clearly in influenced by situations and my own cognitive appraisal to the situations.So,I would not trust my own feelings of ‘love’.

      True love is recognized only when I am moved to act and do so.At times,I may feel no love for God.But that is not the index of my my love for God.The test of love is in acts of obedience and not feelings of ecstatic spiritual experience.

      • AMN said

        “The test of love is in acts of obedience and not feelings of ecstatic spiritual experience.”

        True! But I guess this statement is a double edged sword- it can deepen our faith and at the same time it can create fanatics out of us. How far do we take obedience; should there be a limit to obedience?

        “I believe love is not just a feeling but an act of the will.I mean it is not emotional but also volitional.” – Does everybody have the right to exert their will?

        • Dheeraj Kattula said

          “…it can create fanatics out of us… How far do we take obedience; should there be a limit to obedience? ”

          That assumes that obedience to God could be a snare. That means that God could make wrong laws!!! I understand the spirit of your concern. I agree that obedience to religious leaders and institutions could become dangerous if the leaders are out of touch with God. What I refer to here is acts of obedience which make you do better things than what is minimum expected in a society (like defending a innocent poor woman in a court).I do not refer to acts which are not acceptable to society at large even if they have religious sanction (like child sacrifice or martyrdom with suicide).

          “Does everybody have the right to exert their will.” ( the will to love )

          Of course! I think everyubody does have this right.In fact I believe it is a duty to love our neighbours as ourselves. May I ask what makes you feel that some do not have that right?
          Love can mean different things.In Greek there are four words for love. “agape” meaning Godly love, “phileo” meaning brotherly love,”storge” meaning parental love, “eros” meaning romantic love. Love of some kind or the other is legitimate in relation to one another.There can be no relation in which one of these does not become legitimate.

          I hope I have answered your queries.If I am not clear we could continue to converse…Its 9.15 pm.I have to take a class…bye for now 🙂

  4. RR said

    Nice Post!

    God willed to love us while we were not able to love Him and were worthy for His wrath than love :).

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