110-volt love

24 Jan

Another Owning Your Own Shadow snippet.


owning your own shadow

Once again, Johnson totally gave me words for what I have been experiencing. Writing about romantic love in the second of three parts in this brief book on doing our inner work with our unconscious self, he dabbles in the ancient love story of Tristan and Iseult of ancient Celtic lore…

Tristan and Iseult give us one outcome of romantic love…it’s something like connecting the house wiring to a 10,000-volt power line. Nothing of the ordinary 110-volt structure can stand this overload. Attractive as the idea of 10,000 volts is, it can be maintained only within a container commensurate with its power.

No ordinary human container can ever survive the impact of 10,000 volts.Yet our culture prescribes this 10,000-volt experience as the basis for every marriage.When marriages survive, it is because both partners have moved down to the 110-volt human level and learned the art of loving.

The 110-volt love is much more valuable and humanly assimilable than the extravagant pyrotechnics of the 10,000 volt display. Love, in its human proportions, is far more valuable than the leap-into-the-heavens experience of romance.

Whoa. Or is it, Duh.

Yes, the application to marriage is HUGE.

High-Voltage-Warning-Sign-S-2217No wonder so many marriages flash and burn when such “extravagant pyrotechnics” are expected as the day-in, day-out experience of life! Who can possibly sustain that? In thirty years at this, and in so many ways, just now finally coming into our own, I see periodic 10,000-volt flashes that do much to shoot momentum through our system — but mostly I see a whole lot of a perhaps rather seemingly boring 110-volt love, humming wondrously along day after day.

The one is a Mitty dream world. The other is wondrously gritty reality.

Now overlay this on religion and a walk with God.

I’ve been noticing how many of our worship songs and prayers seem to hold up this same “romantic” ideal of a 10,000-volt relationship with God. No wonder I’ve been getting exhausted at the ALL-OUT WORSHIPFUL INTIMACY WITH GOD THAT CHANGES EVERYTHING AND BLOWS YOUR MIND CONSTANTLY IN A HIGH-CHARGED TRANSFORMATION THAT JUST KEEPS GETTING MORE AND MORE INTENSE!!!!

Yes, I was hearing that in that whole “monster truck rally” tone.

Exhausting. Flash. Burn. Done.

Just try a quick word replacement or two:

Our religious culture prescribes a 10,000-volt experience as the basis for every person’s faith.When our faith survives, it is because we have finally learned to move down to the 110-volt human level and learned the art of loving, because love, in its human and divine proportions, is far more valuable than the leap-into-the-heavens charismatic jolt of experience.

Or, in other words, what Paul has been saying to us all along in his classic love chapter — 1 Corinthians 13 (yeah, this would be a good time to reread it).

Sometimes it’s good to come down to earth.

110-volt style.



Posted by on January 24, 2014 in Books


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2 responses to “110-volt love

  1. kd

    January 24, 2014 at 9:42 pm

    Whoa is right.
    Exhausting, Flash, Burn … Done.
    As of late, the more I struggle to worship and minister in the high-voltage world of the “Christian-life”, the thinner my faith becomes. The persistent, “gritty realities” of life scratch raw … 10,000-volt sparks flame out. In my life, in my walk, the reality is that I have never experienced ALL-OUT WORSHIPFUL INTIMACY WITH GOD in the scream of a corporate “Christian setting” (whether church or small group or ministry).

    A fish out of water … wanting desperately to breathe it all in … no leap-into-the-heavens, just striving, writhing … unable to sustain, unable to fly.

    For me, all-out intimacy with God happens in a whisper and it happens patchily within the textures and crevices of my life… in the steady living of a life given.

    Whoa! Note to self …10,000-volt jolts are supplementary … Jump back into the pond, breathe long and deep … swim, splash, float … it’s OK … God is there.

  2. wordhaver

    January 25, 2014 at 5:40 pm

    Whoa back! This is better than my post! Thanks for sharing – and save a spot for me by the pond.


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