I’ve been slowly working my way through Leonard Sweet’s The Gospel According to Starbucks. To be honest, very slowly, because the book simply hasn’t done much for me. There has been the ocassional paragraph that reaches out to grab me, such as the following:

God made each one of us special, but consider how quickly we get separated from our specialness. The biblical language for making special is “holiness,” or “set apart.” For example, God declares to Jeremiah that even as he is know he has also been “set apart”–hiqdis. From the Hebrew root qds, this verb indicates the act of setting something apart for a unique specific reason or use. In religious usage this meant setting something aside as special to Yahweh–that is, holy or consecrated. Once this special designation was made, that which was set apart was only for Yahweh’s use. Thus, according to Jeremiah’s calling, he is for God’s use–and God alone. The biblical call to holiness is a relational mandate that requires the connecting of the body, spirit, and soul that God has specially made and made special.

Do you agree with Sweet’s take on holiness? Does this fit with John Wesley’s conception of holiness?

“nothing higher and nothing lower than this,–the pure love of God and man; the loving God with all our heart and soul, and our neighbour as ourselves. It is love governing the heart and life, running through all our tempers, words, and actions.”

I think the two are not incompatible, especially as regards Sweet’s comment on holiness as a relational mandate. Wesley saw holiness not as a state of being, but as a relationship of loving God and others.

What do you think?

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