Love As Deference

In Entering into Rest, Oliver O’Donovan writes of Paul’s description of love in 1 Corinthians 13:

At the center of the thirteenth chapter, then, we find a series of characterizations of love as deference. Love’s “patience” (for it now presupposes hope), and love’s “generosity” are explored both negatively and positively: not jealous, not boastful, not self-important, not dishonorable, not self-seeking, not quickly riled, not keeping count of evils, not gloating over wrongs, but also truth-loving, tolerant, faithful, hopeful, and persistent (1 Cor. 13:4-6)….Negative or positive, these features of love move round a well-described circle: restraint of competitive self-assertion, acceptance of others’ activities and initiatives, flexibility in waiting upon them, and readiness to give them time and space. They describe a moment when the urgent need to act is postponed in the interests of others’ actions….The gifts we ourselves have been given, the living of the life we ourselves have been called to live, open up to an end of action enriched by others’ gifts and others’ lives. Jonathan Edwards captured this active-passive disposition in the expression “consent to being,” a virtuous disposition which involved, as he explained it, both benevolence and “complacence,” satisfaction in the benevolence of another. We shall speak simply of “resting in” others’ labors. (pgs. 2-3)

The Beautiful Game

I find that critics of association football – soccer, that is – take issue primarily with three elements of the game: 1) low scoring, 2) the offside rule, and 3) flopping. While I concur with their judgment on the third, the first two elements cannot be appreciated apart from one another. Alan Jacobs, in a review of Laurent Dubois’ The Language of the Game, explains the relationship of the two and how they contribute to the beauty of the world’s most popular sport:

Almost all of the wonderful patterns and geometries of soccer are generated by this one rule, which also generates something that many non-fans greatly dislike: a paucity of goals. But soccer fans get exasperated when goals flow too freely. Scoring should not be easy, and, as with gold and diamonds, there’s a link between rarity and value. The true fan delights in players who have not just the physical gifts but also the imagination to circumvent the rules that seem designed specifically to prevent scoring.

Check out the rest of his review here.