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Category Archives: Love

I have checked out the video and I resonate with Drew Sumrall’s message on what it means to be a militant of truth, and I learnt that Paul was a militant of the universality of truth by maintaining a steadfast fidelity to the event of the cross, or the death and resurrection of Christ, through faith, hope and love, which are the three things that remain. I noted that love is the work of maintaining fidelity to the event in the here and now, and love is over and above all other things such as spirituality, faith, charity and hope, which, while having their place, are worthless without love, for “the greatest of these is love”.

According to Drew, the mystery of love is our incompleteness reaching out to love the other, for love is about the other, hence the work of the militant of truth is to love the other. He added that love is what faith is capable of, which means faith is only the beginning of the work of love. He also said that they hanged Jesus on the tree not because he preached hate or he preached love but because he lived love, and his death was the consequence of his love. Love is the narrow road and the small gate, which paradoxically leads to life.

I noted that true love doesn’t foster acceptance as it foments rejection, and just by loving another, who is the other, we will risk a great deal, and as Drew said, to have everything without love is nothing, for the greatest of these things that remain is love. This is a timeless message to me that is worth remembering and meditating upon.


jimmytst:

According to Dr Brene Brown, empathy is feeling connection. It involves seeing from the other person’s perspective, staying out of judgment, recognising the emotions of the person, and communicating that.

Empathy is entering into that sacred space in which we say to the other person “I know what it is like down here. You are not alone.”

Empathy is a vulnerable choice in which in order to connect with the other person, I need to connect with something in myself that knows the other person’s feelings.

Sometimes it helps to not draw a silver lining in the clouds to try to make something better at that time. What makes something better is connection (of love and understanding), which may involve admitting that we do not know what to say or do too.

“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another.” (Romans 12:15-16)

Originally posted on pastordawn:

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Here’s sharing this article that introduces postmodern theology and the theory of deconstruction as well as the “death of God” theologians, who “saw the potential of (Derrida’s) deconstruction to further their project of announcing the end of theology (the death of God)”.

According to the article,  the “death of God” theologians fastened onto Derrida’s idea that words refer only to other words in a textual setting and cannot be used to describe external realities such as God. That is true in the sense that words are inadequate to describe external realities such as God. At the most, words serve as symbols and metaphors that allude to the nature and mystery of God. This may explain why Jesus spoke in parables because figurative language is able to convey certain truths about the kingdom of God in a way that literal language cannot. For example, Jesus likened the temple of God to his own body when he said to the Jews “destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up”, and yet the Jews thought he was speaking literally about the physical temple building, not knowing he was speaking figuratively.

The article continued to say “They therefore claimed that God is not the Supreme Being who is literally “up there” in heaven somewhere, but instead we should think of God as being “out there” in a spiritual sense. God is “there” when we love another person, and this becomes the main Christian message.” This reminds me of Peter Rollins’ view that God is not found somewhere in the sky but rather God is found in the act of loving one another. In another place, he wrote: “For wherever a concern of beauty, an embrace of life and a love of liberation are exhibited the sacred is proclaimed.”

Interestingly, the death of God did take place according to the gospel, both literally and figuratively, as symbolised by the death of Jesus on the cross as the ultimate scapegoat for humankind. It could be that only by the death and resurrection of Jesus, who continued to love people  beyond his death despite their cruelty towards him, would people see the love of God that is undying, and become free from their erroneous conception of a mean and vengeful god. Indeed love never fails, and the love of God has been shed upon our hearts by the Holy Spirit, renewing our minds to know the love that passes knowledge, that is far greater than the limiting container of any religion – one that is expansive, universal and inclusive.


“What I’m about to share has been the most freeing realization in my adult life.

I am a mirror. I am a mirror to my kids. I reflect who they are back to them. And as their mirror, I look at them first. And what I see in them, I reflect back to them. And I see greatness… I see pure hearts… I see smiles and I see love.

Kids are smart, extremely smart. And their souls are sensitive, extremely sensitive. They KNOW if you’re proud or disappointed in them. They pay attention to your words, the tone they’re spoken in and even the pauses between them. They study the expressions on your face and the shape of your eyes. You can’t fool them. Every kid knows how their parent feels about them.

And here’s the thing… If your approval of your child has any connection to their “performance”…. you are an insecure parent. You have never known unconditional love. You have never had someone who believes in you.

Some of our religious parents are looking into a broken God for their reflection. Jehovah isn’t a loving father. Jehovah is an insecure tyrant just like the broken men who created him.

There are millions of beautiful kids out there who are looking in dirty and broken mirrors. And they think it’s them, when really it’s the mirror who’s broken. The kids are fine. They don’t need fixing.

To reflect greatness back to your kids, you must first see the greatness in you. It wasn’t until my adulthood that I started to see myself clearly. I thought of myself as a 5, but others said, “No Mike, you’re a 10 in every way.” Do you know how healing that is? Do you know how empowering that is?

Everyone has greatness in them. Whether you see it or not depends on the clearness of the mirrors around you. Be a clear mirror… especially to your kids. :-)”

- Mike Myers

Yes, we are a mirror in which others see a reflection of ourselves. As he put it, in order for us to reflect greatness to others, we need to see greatness in ourselves first. This relates to a similar message Jim Palmer shared in his recent blog – that by healing ourselves, we heal others too. Similarly, when we learn to see greatness in ourselves, we can reflect greatness back to others.

From the parent-child perspective, this is especially important, because children grow up mirroring the same things they see in their parents. For those of us who grow up in broken or dysfunctional families (as every family is dysfunctional in some ways), whether we have parents who are emotionally or physically absent, or who are even abusive towards us, we can trace back to the roots of their mistreatment – they would have experienced brokenness in themselves, and missed seeing the greatness in themselves, hence we have inadvertently become the unfortunate recipients of their mistreatments.

However, with the insights obtained through our experiences and our meditation as we breathe and look deeply into the nature of things, we begin to understand life with regard to our mirror reflection to one another. We can then take appropriate steps to create a new reality – it is never too late to realise and learn the truths, so as to change the course of things, determinedly focusing on healing ourselves and overcoming self-rejection, so that not only we rise up from the hurtful past to embrace life with greater peace and fortitude, we will also impact others – our loved ones, our future generations, and whoever else with whom we will interact at some points in time – with our inner peace and strength.


“If you don’t realize your perfection. you will have trouble accepting yourself. This will cause you to project that rejection on others. The same measure is realized in the amount of rejection you give yourself and the amount you push away those around you.

You are perfect. Accept yourself. Love yourself. Loving and accepting others will follow suit.”

Robert Rutherford

Yes, it is so important to realise our own perfection and learn to love and accept ourselves for who we are. As the saying goes, “all love is self-love”, so only when we are able to love and accept outselves can we really love and accept others too. This will also resolve the feeling of rejection of self and others.

I think that is what Jesus taught about loving our neighbours as ourselves – the focus/emphasis is on loving ourselves first. This reminds me of a similar reflective quote by Henri Nouwen too – to remind ourselves we are Beloved and worthy.

“Over the years, I have come to realize that the greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity, or power, but self-rejection. Success, popularity, and power can indeed present a great temptation, but their seductive quality often comes from the way they are part of the much larger temptation to self-rejection. When we have come to believe in the voices that call us worthless and unlovable, then success, popularity, and power are easily perceived as attractive solutions. The real trap, however, is self-rejection. As soon as someone accuses me or criticizes me, as soon as I am rejected, left alone, or abandoned, I find myself thinking, “Well, that proves once again that I am a nobody.” … [My dark side says,] I am no good… I deserve to be pushed aside, forgotten, rejected, and abandoned. Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the “Beloved.” Being the Beloved constitutes the core truth of our existence.”

(From “You are the beloved – a Henri Nouwen quote“)


“There will come a day when people of all races, colors, and creeds will put aside their differences. They will come together in love, joining hands in unification, to heal the Earth and all Her children. They will move over the Earth like a great Whirling Rainbow, bringing peace, understanding and healing everywhere they go. Many creatures thought to be extinct or mythical will resurface at this time; the great trees that perished will return almost overnight. All living things will flourish, drawing sustenance from the breast of our Mother, the Earth.

The great spiritual Teachers who walked the Earth and taught the basics of the truths of the Whirling Rainbow Prophecy will return and walk amongst us once more, sharing their power and understanding with all. We will learn how to see and hear in a sacred manner. Men and women will be equals in the way Creator intended them to be; all children will be safe anywhere they want to go. Elders will be respected and valued for their contributions to life. Their wisdom will be sought out. The whole Human race will be called The People and there will be no more war, sickness or hunger forever.”

~ An Ancient American Indian Prophecy


“Everywhere in the world people are in search of love, for everyone is convinced that love alone can save the world; love alone can make life meaningful and worth living. But how very few understand what love really is and how it arises in the human heart. It is so frequently equated with good feelings for others, with benevolence or nonviolence or service. But these things in themselves are not love.

Love springs from awareness. It is only inasmuch as you see someone as he or she really is here and now and not as they are in your memory or your desire or in your imagination or projection that you can truly love them; otherwise, it is not the person that you love but the idea that you have formed of this person.”

Anthony de Mello

Yes, true love goes deeper than mere affection and attraction towards another person, as it involves loving and accepting the person in the totality and reality of who she/he is. It involves appreciating the person’s true beauty that is both inward and outward, and understanding the person’s unique and authentic self. Like what he said, love springs from awareness, which goes beyond the superficiality of appearance or imagination or projection and penetrates deep into the innermost being of the person. True love sees beyond the apparent humanness that the world sees, and recognises the person is a human being with a divine nature who shines when the person is true to his/her authentic self.

“You are a divine being who shines when you are your authentic self.”

Jenny (Soul Inspiring)


There is much emphasis on notoriety and fame in our society. Our newspapers and television keep giving us the message: What counts is to be known, praised, and admired, whether you are a writer, an actor, a musician, or a politician. Still, real greatness is often hidden, humble, simple, and unobtrusive. It is not easy to trust ourselves and our actions without public affirmation. We must have strong self-confidence combined with deep humility. Some of the greatest works of art and the most important works of peace were created by people who had no need for the limelight. They knew that what they were doing was their call, and they did it with great patience, perseverance, and love.

- Henri J. M. Nouwen

Yes, true greatness does not draw attention to itself for it is humble and self-confident and prefers to stay hidden and has no need to be in the limelight. I agree that the mass media tend to broadcast and propagate the fame or notoreity of people, and the society likes to know who is the latest talk of the town. So to stay in the shadow and do what we are doing, helping people silently, is going against the grain of the world mindset.

Jesus is a great example of someone who is comfortable helping and healing people behind the scenes, and even told them not to tell others he healed them, knowing that great is the reward from the Father (the Universe or our highest self), not from the world. And Jesus is an example of us – our true self knows intuitively this is how it really is – service in secret is a mark of true beauty and greatness.


Video information

A postmodern/cultural theory look in to activism (by implication: human rights, social justice & ecology). And the perversion of benevolence.

Structure

Pornography of Benevolence

A Cigarette After Sex

Becoming the Castrated Activist

If I understand correctly, George Elerick was addressing the religious activists (such as missionaries) who tried to convert others in the name of social justice but they are doing so just for the sake of getting high from the notion of doing something “good” and not really about helping them and getting to know them.

It is interesting to see activism, particularly religious activism, from a psychoanalytical perspective whereby a pervert is defined as someone who cannot say “no” (supposedly to god or to their version of god), and is inclined to feel guilty for not doing something in the name of their religion. So in this sense, the whole idea of activism, or missionary outreach, is perverted or deviates from the actual purpose, especially in the religious circles, since the adherents think they are supposed to “save the world” or they will feel good only when they think they have done something good, so to speak, if I understand correctly. I think he has given people something to think about in his message.

I learnt from George Elerick that it is about revamping the current world system, as Jesus has said that we are in the world but not of the world. According to George, there is nothing wrong with feeling good when we are helping others, but rather our help is not so much orchestrated by the need to feel good as it is to see through the eyes of those whom we are helping instead of through our own eyes, just as God incarnated himself in human flesh and lived among us and see our needs through our human eyes as well.

I agree the context in which Jesus told Nicodemus about being born again is that he was speaking to a believer since Nicodemus was a Pharisee who believed in God (which means this verse on being “born again” was often taken out of context by evangelical churches to tell people to believe in Jesus to be “born again” and become a “believer”), and Jesus might be telling Nicodemus to give up his Jewish identity, just as God gave up his own identity to become man, or Jesus emptied himself of godhood to become us. So in view of this, love can be seen as sacrificing the self or the ego and find our identity in the context of others, as Jesus also immersed himself in the context of us and became one with us. This perspective of love sits well with me, as it reflects empathy and compassion for our fellow human beings, in terms of relating to others’ needs. It is perhaps like communism but it is more than communism, to me, as I would see it in terms of retaining our uniqueness even as we seek to be united with others in their joys and sufferings.


“Love takes off the masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within. I use the word “love” here not merely in the personal sense but as a state of being, or a state of grace – not in the infantile American sense of being made happy but in the tough and universal sense of quest and daring and growth.”

― James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

I agree love involves being authentic and vulnerable as only then will people love and accept themselves for who they really are, and others will also have the opportunity to love and appreciate them for their honesty and authenticity. This form of self love and acceptance takes courage, because it seeks to continue learning new things and discovering new ways of looking at self and the universe. As Aristotle’s quote goes, knowing ourselves is the beginning of wisdom. I think we are wise when we know and embrace both the light and dark sides of ourselves, which are seen from a dualistic perspective.

In this sense, love can be said to be a state of being or a state of grace. We cannot but be love because love is our true essence and we do not need to do anything to become or to have acceptance. We can rest in our state of being love. In love, there is no darkness. Light and dark only exists in the dualistic mind. In the mind of oneness, everything in and around us is agape love.

As the quote put it, this continual act of discovering and knowing our true essence of love involves quest and daring and growth. I dare say we grow best and bear fruit when we rest or abide in the Vine, knowing we are already beloved, complete and blameless. We will relish and revel in the knowledge that we are magnificent and within us are infinite possibilities to shine and bless the world with our innate goodness and love.



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