Crossing the T

Life at the intersection of Church and Trans with Rev. Allyson Robinson

My Trans Soundtrack – All You Need Is Love

Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you in time.
It’s easy.
All you need is love.

In 1967, the BBC was preparing for a program called Our World, the first ever live global television link. They asked the Beatles to come up with a song that would serve as the U.K.’s contribution to the program, one that had a simple and straightforward message that could be grasped by the diverse global audience. John Lennon, with help from Paul McCartney, wrote this song. A few years later, when asked if his songs were “propaganda,” John pointed to “Love” specifically and said, “Sure…I’m a revolutionary artist. My art is dedicated to change.”

As a theologian and ethicist, I’m very sympathetic toward a Niebuhrian view of our situation. In a fallen world, love, that is, the true love we see exemplified in Christ, is a practical impossibility. There are too many variables and too much subjectivity to bring it about. The best we can do is justice, which approximates love and approaches it progressively but asymptotically. There is, in other words, always more to be done.

But it’s that example of real love that drives us, and I believe draws us toward itself. When we lose sight of love and merely seek justice for its own sake, we cross the line from Christian activism into plain old human egoism. And this is where I part company with Dr. Neibuhr. We must strive for love, for if love is our goal, justice will come about naturally, even as we fail to achieve our ultimate objective.

“All You Need Is Love” by the Beatles, on Magical Mystery Tour, 1967 (Lyrics)


1 Comment»

  lucas wrote @

hey… i’ve heard this critique of sir niebuhr somewhere… hmmm… where was it? 😉

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