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faith-hope-love ... also Star Wars musings

But first, an apology and some excuse making. I've had a crushing amount of work, so I haven't been here much, either to read and comment or to write my own entries (and reply to commenters). I think of my friends here pretty much all the time, and I try, gradually, to make my way to people's journals, but I do miss things--please accept my apology. Things should ease up soon.

So, what are you in the mood for? Theological questions?

We heard this on Sunday:

So faith, hope, love remain, these three;
but the greatest of these is love.

I was thinking, if you pick those three things for comparison, it must be because they're somehow similar and, hence, comparable (you don't assess things against each other if there's no logical way to do it--you can compare apples and oranges, in spite of the saying, because they're both fruits, and you can compare apples and potato chips, since they're both food and snackable, and you can compare apples and beach balls since they're both spheres, but you can't compare apples and pajamas in any very meaningful way unless you want to? challenge accepted?) So how are faith, hope, and love similar? ... But if love is greatest, it must also be different from the other two, too, in some qualitative ways--the ways that make it greatest. What are those ways?


Or thoughts on plotting?

I haven't seen the recent Star Wars movie, but since I don't mind spoilers and like following along with current enthusiasms, I've let myself find out certain plot and character details (actually, surprisingly few...). I very much enjoyed theferrett's musings on what heroine Rey's (grand)parentage might be. What I liked most of all was how he pointed out that no matter who you choose, you'd be able to find justification for it in the current movie--that's the power of imagination and looking selectively.

He said the question he's asking is, “If I had to choose her father/grandfather, what decision would create the most interesting set of character reactions?”

And that struck me as such a fruitful way to decide things in a story. What do you think? And if you've seen the most recent Star Wars, do you have opinions on Rey's parentage?


( 25 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 2nd, 2016 04:26 am (UTC)
You know, I can almost express my feelings on the similarities and differences between faith, hope, and love, but not quite.

Except that, of the three, love is the greatest because it is willing to sacrifice itself for another if it is really love.
Feb. 2nd, 2016 04:31 am (UTC)
love seems like a much **bigger** thing than faith or hope, somehow--it seems like it encompasses more.
Feb. 2nd, 2016 04:55 am (UTC)

Faith and hope are virtues that help us aspire to more. Maybe aspire to love, which is bigger than us on an individual level.
Feb. 2nd, 2016 04:58 am (UTC)
Faith - sticking with a commitment, keeping faith with whoever/whatever you've pledged to is hugely important. Do you know Kipling's story of the Jutish man and Bishop Wilfrid, huddled together, marooned on a rocky islet in the middle of a storm and, as they believed, perishing?
'I heard Meon whisper, "If this keeps up we shall go to our Gods. I wonder what Wotan will say to me. He must know I don't believe in him. On the other hand, I can't do what Ethelwalch finds so easy--curry favour with your God at the last minute, in the hope of being saved--as you call it. How do you advise, Bishop?"

'"My dear man," I said, "if that is your honest belief, I take it upon myself to say you had far better not curry favour with any God. But if it's only your Jutish pride that holds you back, lift me up, and I'll baptize you even now."

'"Lie still," said Meon. "I could judge better if I were in my own hall. But to desert one's fathers' Gods--even if one doesn't believe in them--in the middle of a gale, isn't quite--What would you do yourself?"

'I was lying in his arms, kept alive by the warmth of his big, steady heart. It did not seem to me the time or the place for subtle arguments, so I answered, "No, I certainly should not desert my God." I don't see even now what else I could have said.


and hope. Oh heavens yes, hugely important, to keep hope in goodness existing, being possible in the face of all the relentless battering against it. Keeping faith without hope could be (I haven't though this through to say if it's 'would necessarily be' - I hope not) a negative, joyless thing, and if it got to that state, which in the end would be (proviso as before) destructive.


and love. It's ... I'm almost out of words to say how utterly fundamental love is. We (humans, taken overall) literally must "love one another or die", I think. Individually we can stay alive, thoug...oh heavens I'd better stop. Besides, so many people have said it better than I can, including Paul. anyway, I've just checked back on your questions, and I haven't answered them at all!
Feb. 2nd, 2016 05:35 am (UTC)
That's all right about not answering the questions! I was just wondering things out loud. I asked for your thoughts, and these are great thoughts! I like the quote from Kipling (I didn't know the story).

My feeling when i was thinking about it on Sunday was that faith and hope were more dependent--you have to have faith in something, or keep the faith with something, and you have to hope for something, or have hope because of something. Whereas love--well, I guess people may say you have to have an object for your love, so it's dependent too--but there are times when you can experience an upwelling of love that doesn't seem to have a particular object. So because of that, love feels more independent. But then again, most often, love does have an object... so maybe my reasoning here isn't very sound.
Feb. 2nd, 2016 05:42 am (UTC)
The story:

It's one of a book'sworth - Dan and Una, brother and sister, meet the spirit Puck, through whose agency they meet various people from England's history (more specifically, their own region's history) - but always being magicked to forget the meeting afterwards.

(Kipling's a great story-teller, and this is a really good one!)

Edited at 2016-02-02 05:44 am (UTC)
Feb. 2nd, 2016 01:54 pm (UTC)
Looking forward to reading it (arghh, but when time allows).
Feb. 2nd, 2016 12:55 pm (UTC)
The opposite of cheese
I hope you're getting enough-- rest, peace, results, food, faith, hope, love, whatever sustains you.

Starting disclaimer: I automatically look for counter-examples. I know that that is an annoying habit to many, and i'm sure that the following is full of it.


Shoppers compare apples and pajamas all the time, when they have relevantly limited budgets. Codling moth larvae would compare the two if pajamas weren't so totally outclassed as housing, by not also providing food.

Codling moth caterpillar shopping carts would look pretty odd. I'd like to see one.


What a superb theological question.

Of course thing can be given categories in theological tradition. Consider the very similar Theological Virtues: faith, hope, and charity. I now set that aside gently and consider it no further.

I suppose that faith, hope, and love might be grouped as things people chuff themselves on. Or as Abstract Sustaining Qualities. Or each might be or have been claimed as The Most Important Thing, a game humans are prone to and that Paul is playing.

And, having been brought by your question to play along:

Of course all three qualities can be misplaced or handled as weapons of assault or self-injury. But as (thank you!) you brought me to think about it, love is the great connector. It is a visceral sense of connected well-being with another, with person or creature or place or ecosystem or world. And we humans are prone to identify parts of our worlds as, relative to ourselves, The Other, and to remove ourselves to our thrones and Judge That Other. Whereas love brings us to appreciate strengths and weaknesses and potentials and needs-- it leads us not to Judge and Rate and Rank, but to nurture and be nurtured.

The good sorts of faith and hope can come with that sort of understanding that one is part of a larger universe, but the faith and hope can operate without it, whereas in even the bad sorts of love, there is some flavour of it.

And since I think we humans need desperately to to think and feel and decide and acknowledge that we live in a profoundly interconnected world, I can buy love being the greatest of the three.


I think it would be awesome if Rey hadn't been born to or raised by anyone we've heard of in previous canon or even non-canonical creation.

When I was in seminary I heard about a scholar-- Pheme Perkins, if I recall correctly-- who'd argued that Phoebe was the author of something or other in the New Testament. (Presumably a pseudo-Pauline epistle.) And I thought, Wow, this is a sort of scholarly fan-ficcing-- we want more story about this marginal character!

It's a bit like the hoary plot devices in which the virtuous and gifted peasant proves to be Of Noble Birth. (By gum, so that's why yez always spoke forsoothly!)
Feb. 2nd, 2016 01:53 pm (UTC)
Re: The opposite of cheese
love is the great connector. It is a visceral sense of connected well-being with another... it leads us not to Judge and Rate and Rank, but to nurture and be nurtured.

This is beautiful. What you say next, too: even in the bad sorts of love, there is some sense of being part of a larger universe. Brings tears to my eyes and makes me want to hug everything tight.

And thanks so much for apples and pajamas! I laughed because I knew it was possible, but you showed how it was not only possible but quite reasonable (though in the first instance, in a dire way).

Regarding Rey, I think your outlook explodes open the fairly narrow and closed-in Star Wars universe. I like the bigger view! And I'm always keen to have a person's specialness not be attributed to Noble Blood. That's my preamble. Now comes the "but." But, imagining this like one of those games of chess where you play with only a few actors on the board, or as mystery with a limited cast, I think it's a fun game to pick the most unlikely or shocking player and then construct reasons why he's the (in this case) ancestor.

Let's have a day where we all speak forsoothly--it will confuse the prognosticators mightily!
Feb. 2nd, 2016 02:02 pm (UTC)
Yea, verily!

And inasmuch as I deem seemly the jaunts and frolics of all-- so long's the blood stays i'side each fragile skin-- it beseems me better to salute the Genetic Forensics of Great Fandom than to besmirch the grounds of the joust.
Feb. 2nd, 2016 02:06 pm (UTC)
Re: Forsoothly
So long's the blood stays i'side each fragile skin--aye, there's the rub, for what flamewars may come in fandom's mortal coil dost all who caper on this cyberstage reck all too well!
Feb. 3rd, 2016 06:22 am (UTC)
Re: Forsoothly
Feb. 2nd, 2016 01:57 pm (UTC)
and speaking of Star Wars' insufficiencies
In his post theferrett linked to this post on how the main characters in Star Wars were actually sentient insects, and while I haven't read through it in its entirety, I like the line of argument and think you may be amused too.
Feb. 2nd, 2016 02:27 pm (UTC)
Re: and speaking of Star Wars' insufficiencies
Thank you. You have made me very happy.
Feb. 3rd, 2016 01:28 pm (UTC)
Re: and speaking of Star Wars' insufficiencies
Feb. 2nd, 2016 02:50 pm (UTC)
The Prophet Jeshu was often capable of summing things up so succinctly! :o)
Feb. 2nd, 2016 02:52 pm (UTC)
It was actually Paul who said that, in one of his letters to the faithful in Corinth--but yes! What you say is true.
Feb. 3rd, 2016 02:17 am (UTC)
Good think things. Brain too fried for much coherence, except to observe that any of these alone kind of hurt without the support of the others.
Feb. 3rd, 2016 12:57 pm (UTC)
I understand the fried-brain feeling; it's part of why I can't comment on half as many folks' posts as I'd like. That's interesting what you say about each of these hurting without the others. I have an intuitive grasp of what you mean but want to think on it some more (see: brain fried)
Feb. 3rd, 2016 05:03 am (UTC)
After ages, I could open my friends' pages and comment, too...lovely post. The Star Wars bit doesn't resonate with me (it's my son-in-law who's a Star Wars fanatic)...but the comparison bit did, and I'm musing on it now...
Feb. 3rd, 2016 12:57 pm (UTC)
Great to see you!

And yes, there's a lot to muse on.
Feb. 3rd, 2016 08:15 am (UTC)
So how are faith, hope, and love similar?

I thought they were together because they are the three things that remain, i.e. that are considered eternal. Although cynically, I'd say that theory does not necessary stand up to observed results.

Of the three, love is the greatest because it's given to others, not to yourself (or to God).

Put more simply: faith is given to God; hope is given to yourself; love is given to others...

Edited at 2016-02-03 09:42 am (UTC)
Feb. 3rd, 2016 12:55 pm (UTC)
faith is given to God; hope is given to yourself; love is given to others...

Oh wow: this is a great insight. Thank you for this.
Feb. 4th, 2016 01:26 pm (UTC)
Andrew Rilstone is saying some quite intricate things about Rey's parentage, too.
Feb. 4th, 2016 01:34 pm (UTC)
( 25 comments — Leave a comment )

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