Friday, September 26, 2008

What's love got to do with it

What's love got to do with it?
By Julie Whitefeather

“I come here for a breath of fresh air now and then. I do appreciate your blog. I am single—and am very frustrated in my search to love someone. When I look at couples around me—straight or gay—I silently thank my creator that love exists. It is such a blessing. How anyone could hate someone for loving? Thank you for having the courage to encourage love.” – Jo Ann

What’s love got to do with it?

It is often said that “The prophets longed for these times.” What that means, is the common thought that we are living in the last days. Whether we are, or are not, who can say? I often kid with Mother Superior that my retirement plan is the second coming.

Still, people have been talking about the imminent return of Christ since the Ascension.

Now you might ask yourself what any of this has to do with love. The answer, however, is simple. Whether or not these are the end times there are definitely signs of the times in which we live. One of the saddest aspects of those times is that life and love are cheap commodities. The grim aspect of war is not a new advent in the history of mankind. It has been going on throughout all of recorded history. Still, life has never been considered so cheap and expendable as now. We live in an era of push button war fare, where humans are killed at the push of a button. It’s amazing, really, at how efficient human beings have become at killing themselves.

Yet while we are growing ever more efficient at death we seem to have a growing difficulty with love. There is a line from an old Beatles song that says “money can’t buy me love” but that doesn’t stop anyone from trying. When love, whether of a sister, or a sweetheart, should be a bastion of hope, rarely is this the case. It is not surprising that this is the case either. When people aren’t busy placing money over family, the same individuals are often busy entrenched in the ludicrous notion that other human beings need their approval. Instead of the notion that “it is not enough that I succeed, all others must fail” this is often supplanted with “it is not enough that I hate, others must hate, including themselves.”

Perhaps, in the end, one of the reason human beings have become so efficient at killing each other is that they have such a difficult time of loving one another. Yet if this is a sign of the times, there is also another sign of the times.

That sign is that there are still people in the world who are willing to stand up for what is right. There are still people in the world who are willing to love instead of hate. Who are willing to fulfill Christ’s greatest commandment “love one another as I have loved you” and do so without adding on provisionary statements.

One of the signs of the times is that there are still people with the courage to encourage love.

Go with God,

Julie Whitefeather

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Don't ask...

Don’t ask…

One of the founding principles of the Sisters of Embracement is just that – embracement. In fact Mother Superior drives me to work in the mornings and we were talking about just that. We (as in the Sisters of Embracement we, not the royal we) are not talking about tolerance. Anyone can tolerate someone else, given a strong enough willpower. We are talking about embracement of other people, and their paths to God. We are talking about Christians who follow God’s greatest (and in many ways most difficult) commandment from the New Testament “love on another as I have loved you.” Now it may seem obvious here but I would note he didn’t add “unless you don’t happen to agree with who they are.” This is not to say there is not such a thing as righteous indignation. As a priest named Father Fratus once pointed out to me “Even Christ drove the money lenders out of the temple and overturned the tables.”

That being said, you would probably be surprised at the amount of hate mail that just the paragraph above generates. It is not enough for the world’s major religions to preach intolerance of any path to God but their own; it often seems that their members feel it necessary to turn others to their way of thinking.

More than once I have been called a heretic, which isn’t that bad when you consider that one of the same people told us that, also told us they considered Mother Teresa of Calcutta a heretic as well. All I can say is “I am not worthy”…that is some marvelous company to be in.

So if you read any of the essays here and feel that it is necessary to try and get me to hate another human being or somehow feel that God doesn’t love them because you cannot accept them or their path to God…

…please don’t ask. Don’t try and twist the words of whatever Holy Book or path to God you follow into some labyrinthine maze of ill-logic to try and convince me to hate another human being or refuse to accept their path to God. As grandmother used to say, “you may as well save your breath to cool your porridge” – the second any comment begins to turn to the above twisted logic it is deleted unread.

There are many paths up the mountain, but they all lead to the summit…find yours. Let others find theirs.

Sister Julie