Sunday, April 28, 2013

Part #4: The Heart of Romantic Love

Love is friendship that has caught fire.


From sparks of sharing and caring
and cherishing come great light
in the lives of 2 individuals.

And that light overflows beyond the couple,
enlightening, helping, bringing hope and goodness
to others.

And often creates new unique new little beings:-)


To use a different analogy,
Love grows like a glowing vineyard in the sunrise,
takes root and develops one day at a time.

First the exuberant bursting forth of new love,
then the gradual increase and budding of succulent grapes.
Sensuously, phrases from the Song of Songs in the Hebrew Bible
express this wonder.




"Kiss me with the kisses of your mouth, for your love is more delightful than wine." Song of Songs 1:2



Then love in maturity is like fine wine, improves with age.

Loving commitment is quiet understanding and mature acceptance
of imperfection. Love gives strength and creatively opens
in new ways to your beloved.

You are warmed by your beloved’s presence, even when your lover is away.
Miles do not separate. You want your beloved nearer. But near or far,
you know your lover is yours, and you are your beloved's.

Love means patience and trust. Love springs up; you and your beloved feel more whole.

Love fills the empty spaces in your hearts, leads you both to look up, and to give out to others, welling over with caring and compassion. Love is creative, compassionate, gentle, and kind, coming from the deep heart of God.

Love is choosing again and again, daily to love your beloved even in the hard times.

Love is wider than the widest, deeper than the deepest, closer than the closest--a fire of chosen passion.
Anon and adapted


"Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous and does not boast; love is not arrogant 5 or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; Love is not irritable or resentful; 6 Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7Love covers all, trusts all, hopes all, endures all.

13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Love never ends."
1 Corinthians 13 Adapted, New Testament


7 "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
...18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love
...let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth
1 John 4: 7-12, 18, 1 John 3:18

Next Time--Marriage as a Covenant

covenant (n.)
c.1300, from Old French covenant "agreement," originally present participle of covenir "agree, meet," from Latin convenire "come together" (see convene). Applied in Scripture to God's arrangements with man as a translation of Latin testamentum, Greek diatheke, both rendering Hebrew berith (though testament also is used for the same word in different places).
Online Etymology Dictionary

To be continued--


In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Part #3: What's Love Got?

Before we were so rudely interrupted by most of life, I was starting to explain the nature of everything;-)

Not really…but rather meditating, reflecting, and ruminating on what is marriage and what is love?

Ruminating means in the 1530s, "to turn over in the mind," also "to chew cud" (1540s), from Latin ruminatus, past participle of ruminare "to chew the cud, turn over in the mind," from rumen (genitive ruminis) "gullet," of uncertain origin. Online Etymology Dictionary. Rather a strange action to do when considering marriage and love, unless one is a cow, maybe.

So we need to be gentle with ourselves and others, and not become too legalistic and jottled (as in obsessing on every jot and tittle) like so many are doing of late when considering this hugely important topic.

Love is such an empty -bucket word that it means almost everything and anything and nothing.
That is why I had us look at the denotative meaning in Part 2.

Now onto the nuances and the connotative meanings…

#1 Love of Things: I love pizza, blackened salmon, my Chevy van, Mountain Dew, my HP computer…

#2 Love of Places: I love Hawaii, Huntington Beach, Sierra Nevadas, Grand Canyon, Yosemite…

#3 Love of Activities: I love to play basketball, backpack, travel, write, take pictures…

#4 Love of Animals and Plants: I love our cat, dog, hamster, lizard, roses, Redwood trees, Palms…

#5 Love of Groups: I love Book Club, the meetinghouse.com, America, humankind…

#6 Love of Infatuation: I love a person I am attracted to but don’t know well…

#7 Love of Admiration: I love rock stars, sports figures, historical heroes, theological leaders…

#8 Love of Self: I love myself (in the sense Jesus meant, caring for, not in the selfish or egotistical
sense)…

#9 Love of Family: I love my dad and mom, my brother and sister, my aunt and uncle, my cousins…

#10 Love of Friends: I love ___________, a buddy, companion, comrade…

#11 Love of Affection and Physical Desire: I love touching, feeling valued, experiencing passion…

#12 Love of Romance: I love one friend and she loves me, so much we like to spend deep time together…

#13 Love of Commitment: We love each other so much romantically that we want to/will to spend the
rest of our lives together in a covenantal commitment…

#14 Love of Altruism (sometimes spoken of as the Greek word, agape): I love all people, even those
different from me, even those who hate me—like Jesus said to do in the Sermon on the Mount and when
he forgave the Roman soldiers who had invaded his country, tortured, and now were executing him on a cross….

#15 Love of the Ultimate: I love Truth, Justice, the Principle, Goodness, Love, Reason, God, the Divine...


And, of course, there are also distortions of most, if not all, of these forms of “love”…
Distortions and Twisted Versions of Love:

#1 Lust: When a person wants to treat another human being as an object to be used…

#2 Obsession: When a person fixates on another person, idea, worldview, or thing to the exclusion
of everyone else, treating them as an idol to worship or abuse…

#3 Polyandry/Polygamy: When a person thinks he/she can have an equal/humanly ultimate relationship
with more than one other person for life…

#4 Divorce: When a person who commits to a covenant for life with another person betrays his
relationship…

#3 Perversion: When a person twists and distorts what is true and good and right and loving…

#4 Pride/Egotism/Nationalism: When a person thinks he or his worldview or his group is more
important than anyone else…

#5 Idolatry: When a person substitutes himself, others, groups, an idea or thing in place of
Ultimate
Truth/God/the Divine…


As is obvious, we are going to focus mainly on the #13 version of love in this series of articles,
but other types of “love” will probably crowd in, too.

To Be Continued…

In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox

Part #2: Marriage: What Does the Covenant Mean?

Ready for the really bizarre?

Here’s a strange quote from a Christian leader on marriage:

“Let me get right to the point - the making of marriage has nothing to do with love."

"Love does not make two people married. According to the law of His Word, God,
who marries couples, does not marry them based on love.”
From “Marriage: What’s Love Got To Do With It?”
By Edward Ridenour*






Huh? Wait a minute, please…

Has there been anything more off-the-wall wrong than this? Claiming that “making a marriage has nothing to do with love”?*



Sometimes a reflection, meditation, article deeply moves one, invites one into the presence of God, and leads to a transformative change in my life,
BUT
such is NOT the case with Ridenour’s article.

Now keep in mind that Ridenour may be partially playing “gotcha,” using a hook attention-grabber, because later he does qualify his bizarre, untrue words: “Love that labors and is sacrificial is true marital love in its best form, and is "agape" (Godlike).
When a man and a woman come together and make a marriage, their underlying principle for making that marriage should not be for their own self-satisfaction, but to serve one another and God in that union, exemplify His love, and build His Kingdom. This is true love.”

Definitely yes and no.

It is true that much of what passes for “love” in modern society has little to do with love in the transcendent/compassionate/ultimate ethical sense.

But it is also true that much of what passes for “love” and “marriage” in Scripture, Christian history, and modern religious groups has little to do with love either.

If in doubt spend a couple of days researching “marriage” as practiced in parts of the Bible and in church history.

It’s enough to make any spiritual individual puke and wretch—just as Jesus is said to do with the false religious ways of so many humans (Revelation 3: 1-22)

For years now—at least 21 of them—I’ve been seeking clarification and insight on the meaning of the word and act called “marriage.”
But even after attending and participating in many weddings, after reading a tome of books, endless essays and biblical studies,
and spending a lot of time in prayer and reflection, I still am confused/uncertain/grieved--
seeking further clarification from the Light of God before I speak my mind with strong conviction.

So, if all that is true, why am I sticking out my neck now to have it chopped off repeatedly by all the opposing guillotines of modern dystopia,
by all the theological fire-breathers of various opposing camps from Indiana Yearly Meeting to the U.S. Supreme Court?

Let’s say, Ridenour made me do it;-)

Not that he’s the devil, but the latter is definitely in the details.

Well, maybe not; maybe in the end the truth of all this is only found in the ideal truths and essences, inherent in the ultimate love of God.

Now there’s an idea—that our finite minds aren’t the ultimate judge of truth, but God who is Love is.

As it says in Ephesians 4: “...walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love...
14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.

15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ...” ESV

SO...before we can tackle the vital issue of marriage, what it means and what it doesn’t mean—
and set all the modern ethical jousters correct;-)—
we must first look at the definition of this wily character/characteristic/attribute/behavior/emotion/value/ethic/act called "love"



#1 Define the terms (what philosophers always emphasize so as to avoid semantic chaos like what is happening in modern secular society and religion).

Love:

love (n.)
Old English lufu "love, affection, friendliness," from Proto-Germanic *lubo (cf. Old High German liubi "joy," German Liebe "love;" Old Norse, Old Frisian, Dutch lof; German Lob "praise;" Old Saxon liof, Old Frisian liaf, Dutch lief, Old High German liob, German lieb, Gothic liufs "dear, beloved").


The Germanic words are from PIE *leubh- "to care, desire, love" (cf. Latin lubet, later libet "pleases;" Sanskrit lubhyati "desires;" Old Church Slavonic l'ubu "dear, beloved;" Lithuanian liaupse "song of praise").

Meaning "a beloved person" is from early 13c. The sense "no score" (in tennis, etc.) is 1742, from the notion of "playing for love," i.e. "for nothing" (1670s). Phrase for love or money "for anything" is attested from 1580s. Love seat is from 1904. Love-letter is attested from mid-13c.; love-song from early 14c.
To fall in love is attested from early 15c. To be in love with (someone) is from c.1500. To make love is from 1570s in the sense "pay amorous attention to;" as a euphemism for "have sex," it is attested from c.1950.
Love life "one's collective amorous activities" is from 1919, originally a term in psychological jargon. Love affair is from 1590s. The phrase no love lost (between two people) is ambiguous and was used 17c. in reference to two who love each other well (c.1640) as well as two who have no love for each other (1620s).

love (v.)
Old English lufian "to love, cherish, show love to; delight in, approve," from Proto-Germanic *lubojan (cf. Old High German lubon, German lieben), from root of love (n.). Related: Loved; loving. Adjective Love-hate "ambivalent" is from 1937, originally a term in psychological jargon.
Online Etymology Dictionary


To Be Continued--

In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox


*Part 1 was published as “The Twisting…” April 2, 2013

* Well, maybe the twisting of God’s character and essence by modern Christian leaders who claim God is self-centered, that everything he does is for his own glory! How sick and totally wrong, as any reading of the NT will show. Try 1 John first.

* http://blogs.christianpost.com/marriage/marriage-whats-love-got-to-do-with-it-151/

Monday, April 22, 2013

New Song Adaption--"Jesus Doesn't Love Us, This We Know..."

"Jesus doesn’t love us! This we know,
For the Bible tells us, no.
Little ones by Him reprobated long
They are damned, by Him so wrong.

Yes, Jesus doesn’t love us
The Bible tells us, no.

Jesus doesn’t love us! This we know,
As he ordained so long ago,
Forsaking children by His decree
Saying, “Let them be damned , see.

Jesus doesn’t love us. He who died
Heaven’s gate to close aside;
He won’t wash away our sin,
Let limited children come in…"

*Famous children’s song
according to John Calvin, A.W. Pink, etc.,
the bad news of Calvinism’s poison T.U.L.I.P.

*“I again ask how it is that the fall of Adam involves so many nations with their infant children in eternal death without remedy unless that it so seemed meet to God? …because he had so ordained by his decree. John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion Book 3, Sec. 23, 7)

* “Those, therefore, whom God passes by he reprobates, and that for no other cause but because he is pleased to exclude them from the inheritance which he predestines to his children.” John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion 3:23:1)

*"The reprobate like the elect are appointed to be so by the secret counsel of God's will" (Calvin's Institutes III, xxii, Page 11) and " . . .their doom was fixed from all eternity and nothing in them could transfer them to the contrary class..." John Calvin(Institutes of the Christian Religion III, iii, Page 4)

*"We call predestination God's eternal decree, by which he compacted with himself what he willed to become of each man. For all are not created in equal condition; rather, eternal life is fore-ordained for some, eternal damnation for others." John Calvin (Bk 3, ch 21, s. 5)

*"One of the reasons that God makes human babies small is so they won’t kill their parents in their sleep.
They’re evil."
Calvinist preacher Voddie Baucham

*The Puritan Michael Wigglesworth in his infamous poem “The Day of Doom” says God sends infants to the least worst part of Hell.
Weird and despairing:-(

Versus


GOOD NEWS:-)

"Jesus loves me! This I know,
For the Bible tells me so;
Little ones to Him belong;
They are weak, but He is strong.

Refrain:
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!

The Bible tells me so.
Jesus loves me! This I know,
As He loved so long ago,
Taking children on His knee,
Saying, “Let them come to Me.”

Jesus loves me still today,
Walking with me on my way,
Wanting as a friend to give
Light and love to all who live.

Jesus loves me! He who died
Heaven’s gate to open wide;
He will wash away my sin,
Let His little child come in.

Jesus loves me! He will stay
Close beside me all the way;
Thou hast bled and died for me,
I will henceforth live for Thee."

By Anna B. Warner

And ALL grandchildren,
especially our two little grand children who are so dear to our heart, ALL loved by God.

In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox

Monday, April 15, 2013

Light and Love

Reflecting backward on my posts of the past few months, I see how much I’ve become preoccupied with fighting against the ocean of darkness and death which drowns much of modern life, especially, and ironically, so much of Christianity which has become “bad news,” rather than the Good News to every single human dearly loved by God.

But I remember there have been many other times in history when evil in church and society got the upper hand such as the 30 Years War, when Christians not only got almost everything wrong theologically but as a result slaughtered each other for 3 decades. At least we’re not there; thank false religion for small favors.

Thankfully, we can instead look to the Living God as revealed by Jesus and listen to words of wisdom from his followers.

And this, I’m going to do…focusing in this meditation on the ocean of Light and Love that flow from God’s Spirit to drench us in hope.

“To pray…means to think and live in the presence of God…Thus prayer asks us to break out of our monologue with ourselves and to follow Jesus by turning our lives into an unceasing conversation with our heavenly Father…in the simple trust that through his love all will be made new.

The Father’s love does not force itself on the beloved. Although he wants to heal us of all our inner darkness, we are still free to make our own choice to stay in the darkness or to step into the light of God’s love. God is there. God’s light is there. God’s forgiveness is there. God’s boundless love is there. What is so clear is that God is always there, always ready to give and forgive, absolutely independent of our response. God’s love does not depend on our repentance or our inner or outer changes.”

Henri Nouwen

“That we can experience this Divine Presence…that changes and transforms everything in life--this is Friends' main message to the world….So the most important…can in fact be accomplished now--not in some indefinite point in the (uncertain) future. That is to say "yes" to God's Divine presence in my life.

Having once discovered this wonderful secret, this new dimension of life, we don't live any longer simply in time, we also live in Eternity. The temporal world is no longer the only reality we're aware of. A new Reality arises that enlivens and excites us, that moves us toward action, fills us with energy, breaks into our souls and with love embraces us--along with all those who find themselves in the Presence.”

Johan Maurer


“7Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

13By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.

15Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.”

I John 4:7-16 ESV


In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Twisting of Social, Religious, Political, and Sexual Discourse

The biblical leader so much admired by Jews, Christians, and Muslims--David murdered/slaughtered/killed and mutilated 200 men in order to gain (buy) a woman in marriage who he didn't love, for his own political advancement.

So much for Godly love as spoken of in Genesis.

Scripture speaks nothing of David’s caring for her (even though it does say the woman, Michal, loved him and that she protected him from her father). But because of danger, David abandons Michal, and then takes many other women in marriage (polygamy).

Later, David captures Michal back, stealing her from her lawful second husband.

But when she criticizes him, David gets revenge by shunning her for the rest of her life, leaving her childless, while he spends all of his time with his other wives and concubines (I Samuel 18: 17-30; 19: 11-18; 25: 39-42; 25: 43-44; 2 Samuel 6: 20-23 ESV.

So much for the holy institution of marriage 3,000 years ago in the Bible!

Yet Christian conservatives now are claiming that marriage has been a hallowed institution for many centuries. What historical tome have they been studying?

Any academic historian can show the institution of marriage in many past centuries seldom had anything to do with Godly standards. Instead marriage often oppressed and, even, abused women. Usually, in the aristocratic strata of society, marriage was for politics, money, and power. If in doubt read any scholarly book on the aristocrats and their marriages of the last one thousand years in Europe.

So much for marriage being a sacred and holy institution…

Yet modern secularists get blamed for distorting and destroying marriage by trying to change it.

So much for media distortion and Christian hypocrisy…

The God of the universe (as described by Jesus) has nothing to do with such a historically corrupt, insincere, and manipulative institution, other than in the sense of God first creating the ideal relationship of communion and fellowship at the start of the human race—which humans have consistently distorted through sexism, greed, and pride.

Indeed, Jesus emphasized 2,000 years ago how humans, especially religious people, are the ones who corrupt and destroy marriage!

Strangely and most ironically, the Christian conservative movement which claims marriage is a sacred institution that modern secularists are trying to destroy, has it itself a high divorce rate equal to non-Christians—33%!


So much for the sacred institution of marriage being changed by modern secularists…

Furthermore, one of the leading Christian presidential candidates who condemned “gay marriage” has been married three times. So much for the holiness and unbrokenness of marriage…

This Christian leader divorced his first wife when she was seriously ill because he had begun an adulterous affair with another woman, then later he began a second affair and divorced this second wife of adultery, to marry a third, etc.

What about Jesus’ condemnation of divorce and the Hebrew Bible’s declaration that God hates divorce?

Were Jesus walking in the halls of Congress and the churches across the U.S. no doubt he would say to the religious conservative leaders:

“Hypocrites, blind guides…” (Matthew 23).

Only when Christians first live loving, pure, and sacred lives with their spouses in life-long marriage, only then they may they speak to others about the sacrament of marriage.

What might they say in love and truth and humbleness?

To be continued,

In the Light,

Daniel Wilcox