Gideon Strauss, every once in awhile, posts links to friends and acquaintances that draw up lists of their 25 top loves. I've used the concept at Geneva to good effect. It is particularly useful in helping folks to start to think about possible callings, or ways to change the way they are currently pursuing whatever it is they are pursuing. For me, the idea of listing loves has helped to remind me of what I find bedrockly important and some of my own polemic idiosyncracies. However, I think that the list is just a start on the way. My own question, which has grown up out of my reflections of what is important and what is shaloming is: what commitments do I have? Commitment should follow love, otherwise lust will quickly take its place. So what are my top 10 commitments? (I decided ten just to get started...)
I am committed to:
1. A Jewish peasant political and religious rebel who was killed by the powers that be of his day, only to be vindicated as the true power of God by God himself.
2. Living the way marked out by #1, even if it is fitful and sporadic.
3. My wife of three years, who also is passionately in love with #1.
4. My daughter of 8 months, who I pray will find her own story involving #2.
5. Creating an atmosphere of comfort and conviviality in Beaver Falls through providing a welcoming place and a welcoming set of beverages.
6. Creating an atmosphere of tensed leisure for my students to grow, experiment, succeed-and-fail, and ultimately gain the wisdom offered by #1 through #2.
7. Understanding what it means for me to be "truly human" in all my multi-aspectual beingness.
8. Helping in the Spiritual renewal of my home (taken as both my family and my neighborhood/city).
9. Non-violent resistance to all forms of evil, the foremost of tactics being prayer both individual and corporate.
10. Spreading understanding of #1 and ways of doing #2.
This is not nearly all of my commitments and not necessarily in hierarchical order (my wife mentions that I didn't mention friends! Worry not, though, I was thinking of them when I spoke of neighborhoods). But these commitments (and others) give shape to what answers I can question and what questions I can answer. It is, thankfully, a rooted list: God, family, neighborhood, city. I'm sure, though, if I expanded this list, that there would be commitments that I have that are antithetical or contradictory to this list (my occasional commitment to sullen, surly solitude coming quickly to mind). Part of struggling to be truly human in a fallen-in-process-of-redemption world.