Primitive religion is not believed, it is danced!

Arthur Darby Nock

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Elizabeth Browning

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

love is all we have

The daily reality of our lives is not under the rule of love, but under the rule of law, of force and of punishment.  We talk about love, but we live by hate: we hate in the name of love…

          Thomas Merton


I’m sure we all agree that we ought to love one another, and I know there are people in the world who do not love their fellow human beings, and I hate people like that!

          Tom Leher (intro to “National Brotherhood Week”)



Love, love, love, love

Christians this is your call

Love your neighbor as yourself for God loves all


How is it that we get it so wrong?

The intensity of love, we might think

Would lead us into the realm of love.


That loving someone, something,

almost anything

would make us more open, more vulnerable

happier, kinder, more compassionate


and yet it seems, all too often

that extreme love can lead us into places dark and dangerous


perhaps it is not so much love

as it is extremism


Certainly, some kinds of extremism are loaded with danger

An extreme love of power

Or a love of guns

Extreme hate


But one would think extreme loyalty (patriotism?)

or extreme love of God (religion?)

or extreme love of animals (veganism?)

would be good things


Certainly, it seems as though Christianity (for example)

calls for an extreme love of God

“You shall love the Lord your God with all

  Your heart, soul, mind, and strength”


But have we not seen this extreme love of God

turn into hate for others?

Have we not seen horrible things done in the name of God?

People tortured.  Burned. 

Countries destroyed


Does not the “pro-life” movement seem like a good thing?

Who doesn’t want to protect life?

But have we not seen this movement turn cruel?

Dehumanizing women? 

(And there are those reading this who will say a woman who would abort a child deserves to be treated poorly)

Calling all who do not agree with them murderers?

(And there are those reading this who will simply shrug and say “they are!”)

Sacrificing people who are alive for people not yet born?


We are called to love

But we end up hating in the name of love!


It seems, perhaps, that all extremism

Ultimately turns cruel


And yet

There is that call for,

even that need for extremism?


How do we reconcile the need to go “all in” on some issues

and “all in” with God

with the fact that such extremism can separate us from others

cause us to dehumanize others

and then treat others

with blind cruelty


I don’t know

Jesus did

A few other brave souls have at least come close



Not so much


Perhaps Jesus gives us the clue

Even as he saw legalism

And neglect

And greed

And a lust for power in “the other”


He still saw “the other”

as a precious child of God

as a precious soul

worthy of inclusion

worthy of sitting at the banquet table

worthy of being searched for and found

worthy of love


no matter who extreme our love for anything

justice, the planet, God

we must always see the other


see them

as Sacred Children

see them as carriers of the Sacred

see them as precious


This answer feels like “not enough’

and it is, I suspect, harder than it sounds.


But on this day

As in the name of justice, peace, compassion, kindness

I am tempted to become unjust, angry, apathetic, and unkind

It is all I have.

No comments:

Post a Comment