ALL WE NEED IS LOVE

“While scientists look desperately for medicines and mechanism to avoid catastrophe, many others are beginning to realize that what is needed is not only externally administered remedies, preventive or curative, but an internal change in the way we behave, a hard second look at the values which have brought us to this dangerous brink.”

-Anuradha Vittachi, Earth Conference Pace e Bene

Marianne Williamson – candidate

 

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(excerpts from ILLUMINATA, 1994, by Marianne Williamson)

“Hitler could never have risen to power had it not been for vast numbers of people who gave him that power.  Although they did not share his hatred, they did not have a solid, moral commitment to not hate.  Only a society in which there is a widespread commitment to not hate is safe from hatred.  A little hate is like a little cancer.  And who among us does not hate?”

Dear God Please remove from my mind the tendency to judge.
Please remove from my mind the tendency to hate.
Please remove from my mind the tendency to blame.

Please reveal to me, Lord, a way to stand in my power,
through love instead of fear,
and through peace instead of violence.

May I not hear the voice for anger, but only the voice for love.
And teach me, dear Lord, how not to hate those who hate me.
Transform all darkness into light, dear God,

And use my mind as an instrument of Your harmlessness.
I surrender to you my thoughts of violence.
Take these thoughts, Lord, and wash them clean.
Thank you very much. Amen.
MARIANNE WILLIAMSON

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speak to me of love

cropped-candle.pnglove is patient

love is kind

38love does not envy

does not boast

is not proud

love is not rude

love is not self-seeking

love is even tempered

love does not hold grudgesclose-up-looking-up-red-rose-2380141

love rejoices with the truth

it always protects

trusts

hopes

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love never fails

 

 

chapter 13 FIRST CORINTHIANS verses 4-8

 

LOVE

CATS

 

“No amount of time can remove the memory of a good cat; and no smiley-face-2amount of masking tape can ever totally remove his (or her) fur from your couch.” LEO DWORKEN

 

God put cats in our world to teach us patience and unconditional love.

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2 men named Jesus?

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The days are many when I question the foundational principles learned in youth, when I retire to bed at night more uncertain than certain, when I, like a child, want to hide under the bed covers to escape from the world.

Those stories I read as a young boy – the miracles, the healings, the parables, the inspiration and hope, the guidance and correction, the ancient shared wisdom – I remember all that.

I think of numerous personal crises endured and conquered, unmentionable forays into darkness, the return from the far land, a prodigal son reunited with his inheritance, testimony of a life resurrected, forgiveness extended – I think of all that.

And yet, tonight, the term Christian confuses me.  Don’t all Christians honor and revere the same Jesus?  Or is it possible there were two homeless vagabonds roaming the lands of 1st century Israel?  Both named Jesus?  Both from Nazareth?

Is there another version of ancient writings telling of a hateful and vengeful Jesus?  Have I somehow not read the Gospel of Exclusion, the one that tells white Americans they are better than the other children of God?

And all the verses that I know by heart, maybe I should not believe that “Love thy neighbor as thyself”  is truth straight from our Lord.  Or maybe “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life” was intended only for white folks, not brown and black skins.

Some of you tell me that white Christians are God’s chosen people, that only those who congregate in certain churches will get to heaven, that it is okay to persecute others who follow a different path or those who name their God differently.

Is it really okay?  Some of you say that caging children is acceptable under Christian principle, that denying those seeking safety, security and hope is biblical, that the man and woman who happen to be brown-skinned are not part of your Kingdom.

Others say that destroying our earth’s ecosystem in the name of profit will be justified in the end times because Jesus will rebuild our earth, that those who know the true God will be saved from annihilation.

Are we reading the same scriptures or do you have a different version?  Did the other Jesus speak privately to you and not to me?  Tell me what verse gives you the right to judge and condemn men who are not exactly like you?  I must know.

My Jesus heals the sick, how about yours?  My Jesus mends the broken, how about yours?  My Jesus feeds the poor and hungry, shelters the homeless, welcomes the refugee, how about yours?

“For many will come in my name….and lead many astray.”  Matthew 24:5

“Watch out for false prophets.  They will come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” Matthew 7:15

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speak to me of God

“I said to the apple tree: ‘sister, speak to me of God,’ and the apple tree blossomed.”  Nikos Kazantzakis ( attributed to St. Francis) 

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photo by DIDS

Don’t you think ours would be a much better, more peaceful world if those who profess a god could keep it this simple?  It’s as if my God is saying to me, “Just look around at the Creation which you attribute to me; it is there you will know me.”

Followers of the mystical path believe God is immanent, meaning inherent and indwelling.  From the moss under the trees to the king of the jungle to the man known as Einstein, the essence defined as God exists and propels the God image through all that was, that is, and that ever will be.  All that is necessary to know God is to look out the window and observe the butterfly fluttering, the bird winging across the sky, and the flower blooming.  Look at the bees pollinating, the farmer planting, and the mother giving birth.  Everything on earth contains the essence which some call God, others Yahweh, still others Allah, while many do not name it at all.  This earth is a continuum of birth, death and rebirth.  It tells us everything we need to know about life.  So why look to the heavens, or why dread hell, why sit in judgement of others, why condemn ourselves in attempts to earn God’s approval?  If that power which we label God did not approve and indwell, we would not be here.  No theology, no doctrine, no “ism” could save us.

 

PRIDE – men & monkeys

 

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As a younger man, about 28 years old, a friend and I had a house-painting/paperhanging business. (Yes, for those of you under 50 years old, wall paper was a popular decorative choice and could be very lucrative.)  We landed a contract with a successful building contractor.  He had several dozen employees, he was a respected community leader and  he was a member of good standing in the local church.   This job offered the promise of significant future work.

We arrived on the job site at his house just before he himself left for work.  Very affable and likeable, Tom always took a minute to talk with us before leaving the house.  One morning he offered the usual morning pleasantries before sharing a bit of information garnered from his church family:

“Boys, did you know that a study was done on a group of monkeys exposed to daily hard rock music?  Yep, the monkeys turned queer.”

My partner, a happily married heterosexual man guffawed and snickered.  I just smiled because at that moment I knew I would have to give up the hard rock which I loved or live my life as a gay man.

Here are two of my all-time favorites.  I promise, listening to it will not make you queer.

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PRIDE – acceptance

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Let’s get honest.  We all need to feel wanted and accepted.  It’s a human thing which most people are able to navigate effortlessly.  Helping us along the way to becoming respectable, normal members of our communities were parents, teachers, clergy, and friends, all of whom were well-intentioned in their guidance.  They unanimously wanted nothing more than happy, well-adjusted, heterosexual kids to grow up, find a calling in life and raise families just as they and generations before them had done.

That could be the end of story….and it is in some cultures.  But, in America, we grow up with choices, with the prerogative to love whom we want.  That right is protected by the Constitution and anti-discrimination laws enacted following years of protests, marches, beatings and deaths.  We are the USA and in this country no religion nor institution can deny our hard-won rights although some still try.

Growing up, we knew about those few freaks who did not fit into the community plan, those who moved to the city, those who relocated to another state to pursue their idea of happiness and fulfilment.  At the dinner table there was talk of cousin John living with another man in sin or of aunt Mary divorcing her husband to set up housekeeping with another woman.  They were not accepted, they were not considered normal and we quietly heeded the unspoken warnings concerning the criteria for acceptance.

So it is not surprising that this gay thing which troubled so many of us as an unacceptable, deviant lifestyle was learned at an early age.  Also not surprising is the revelation that ultimately the greatest challenge was not in gaining the approval of parents, teachers, clergy and friends, but rather instilling approval of ourselves.  The bigger issue became how to love me when so many obviously did not care about me, the person, but rather how to control me, the pervert.  We had to learn how to live a life with no secrets, no lies, no cover-ups.  In doing so, we realized that some people would withdraw their love, some would vehemently denounce us, some would try to cure us, and some would always disapprove.

But, we found others who could love us unconditionally and embrace the truth of our lives.  When being true to ourselves became more important than winning the approval of others, we finally became free to be the human beings we were born to be.

 

PRIDE – celebrating our differences

When all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love, we are all more free.  Barack Obama

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Have you ever watched the movie BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN?  The mountain settings are spectacular, the music is soulful and the actors do a terrific portrayal of two men discovering the truth of their lives while living in a culture which refuses to accept that love comes in a multitude of flavors.  The emotion is raw, the love is tender, the difficulties accepting alternative sexuality are real.  Check it out if you have not seen this award winning flick, but allow me to fast forward to the nugget of truth.  Ennis (Heath Ledger) could not accept the deepest love he had ever experienced – physical, emotional and soulful – until that love (Jake Gyllenhaal) was taken from him by the hatred and prejudice of men who lived their lives in an extremely narrow concept of masculinity and manhood.  Ennis realized in the final heart-breaking scenes what he had lost, but it was too late.

Standing shoulder to shoulder, hand in hand with diversity and inclusiveness is an act of love which could save our world.  It means that I must extend an open mind to the differences of others just as I would want them to accept me with my distinguishing differences.  That is probably the greatest challenge a brother/sister of color, an American Muslim, or a member of the LGBTQ+ community will face in life’s journey.  It becomes too easy, having been a target of prejudice and derision, to  complete the circle of  hatred and intolerance, but we have to be better than that.

This excerpt below which I chose is graphic and profane, but so is life.