Faith & Love

Let’s kill the mother f***er who has the gall to love us.

I was pushed into Catholicism – at 7:30 AM mind you – from a very early age. I was forced into St. Mary’s Catholic School on North Street in Greenwich, against my will. That lasted one semester. After a brief hiatus at GHS, I was in college and free from the confines of organized religion. I was not to return until age 37, when I met Father Gene, and subsequently got married in a Catholic Church. Father Gene re-established my faith, and even made me feel good about Catholicism. He retired a few months ago, and I am struggling with my religion, once again. The Catholic Church is so full of scandal that it is hard to feel any sort of loyalty to it.

But my loyalty is not to the Church. It is to the faith. I share my faith in Jesus with my wife, Taryn. I share my religion and faith with my daughter, (though my wife insists our beliefs are really Protestant.) Father Gene believes the semantics don’t matter.

Protecting priests who sodomize children has transcended the church: this is Catholic Legend. This is Sickness in Motion. This practice is so far removed from The Message, it reams the sphincter of Christian consciousness. The covert sexual conduct of Priests – and the Church protecting them – is not indicative of The Faith.

I have faith in Christ, and I attend Catholic service. My attendance does not make me a supporter of these actions. Paying taxes is not the manifestation of my support for the government’s actions, or their use of the funds garnished from my labor. There is a marked difference, though: Unless you regard jail time as a valid option, taxes are not optional. Church attendance is. So sue me.

A Jihad is not right, but neither is bombing those who are wrong. Warring factions are always – without exception – misinformed. The Jihadi might claim to be ‘warriors of God’, but misinterpretation of The Word can be found almost anywhere. The back of cereal boxes isn’t worthy of worship. Contributing to the demise of mankind isn’t what God had in mind.

“If what Jesus said was good, what can it matter if he was God or not?” -Kurt Vonnegut

‘Love your neighbor’, is hard to resist. But Jesus didn’t stop there. Jesus implores us to love our enemies. While we can’t expect such conduct to come easily to our mortal minds, this is what he asked of us.

Perhaps Jesus doesn’t understand the circumstances. Maybe it isn’t the right tact. We need to seek out, mutilate, and destroy our enemies! When the US levied missiles on hallowed ground, hatred fueled the fire.

Fighting love is a bit more daunting. The more you fight the more you lose. Eventually the walls of resistance always come down. It is just not possible to hate love forever. As my wife said: “The problem with hatred is that it ruins you.” Whenever we hate the haters we become our own worst enemy. It is like we have become suicide bombers of our own psyche.

At the root of any conflict is an internal struggle. Whenever you engage in conflict, you become conflicted. However, once grounded in your beliefs, the power of conflict evaporates like mist in the summer sun.

I recently watched a movie (available on Netflix) which was titled, ‘Lord save us from your followers’. I agree with the basic premise wholeheartedly. Followers mostly muddy up the message.

War is nothing less than a constant kindling of conflict. Peace is insupportable within these parameters. Supporting our troops became synonymous with supporting the war, early on. Oddly, there are many who want to defeat our ‘enemies’ so badly, they will pray for Jesus to give us the strength to drain them of their lifeblood.

Alas, Jesus never got the memo.

We are separated from our enemies through consciousness, and nothing more. Try as you might, you will never overcome that basic fact. When hatred reigns, you lose. That is why loving your enemies is the only possibility for resolution. Retribution never creates resolution. Even if you are victorious in battle, you have lost the best part of yourself.

Our political system is fatally flawed. It interferes with itself too much. Both parties try desperately to out duel the other. During a campaign run there is no scraping the bottom of the barrel. Political runs are good ol’ American Ugliness at it’s finest.

I have never been a believer in UFOs, at least insofar as spaceships from another planet are concerned. My reasoning is simple: Why are they only in the air? Why don’t they land? Still, if there is life on another planet – which creates ships able to cross galaxies – one thing is for certain: They are peaceful. They have managed to become an advanced civilization for one reason and one reason only. They did not destroy themselves. That could never happen on the little blue ball we inhabit unless we change our ideology.

We need to be warriors of peace, first and foremost. Perhaps Our Government needs to ask: What will bring us closer to peace? Only when peace is the goal do you ask the questions which resolve in peace. If peace is not the goal, we need to overhaul our government. We must insist on peace. It is the only resolution which will sustain our lives – not just for the moment – but for generations to come. The Mystery doesn’t lie in the White House.

Bruce Cockburn said: “You can’t be attached to the outcome of your efforts. Chances are you won’t live to see it, even if there is an outcome.”

Jesus died on the cross, saying “Forgive them Father, they know not what they’ve done.”

Love always wins, whether we are around to see it or not.

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Josephus
    Jan 19, 2011 @ 22:49:48

    Thought provoking as always, Ben Grimm. Bear in mind that in Jesus’ day, to “love” your neighbor meant, in the parlance of the time, to treat with civility and to be able to business with someone. Jesus isn’t asking us to give our enemy a big ‘ol hug, but rather to approach them with our hand up in a universal sign of “can we talk, here”.

    Reply

  2. Louis
    Sep 11, 2011 @ 13:37:25

    “Love your neighbour as yourself”. It was suggested to me early in life that hatred was the opposite of love. I later heard that apathy was the opposite of love. Since then I’ve learned that hatred occurs when one sees something objectionable in another and that thing one also sees in oneself. I favour the third explanation. As a result, I have concluded that all hatred is self-hatred. Don’t hate, rather, change.

    God’s Will and our Holy books. We so-called senscient, self aware creatures, are not only “wired” for love, but hatred also. Is God? In non-sencient creatures, is hatred a condition of their phisiology, or are they just hungry? Whenever we read in our Holy books that God wants us to, and even commands us to harm or kill others, this is man creating God in man’s image. Holy men and scribes have corrupted God’s Word because they were unable to free themselves from hatred, vengence and power. Indeed, power over God. Until Pope John Paul II denounced the death penalty in Christianity, those of the faith who believed that Christ sanctioned the death penalty were corrupted. Can you imagine Jesus Christ going to a stoning with a rock in his hand?

    God’s Will, according to my faith, is to “Love your neghbour as yourself”. In order to do this, in fact be this, you must Love yourself. Do not allow man to create God in man’s image.

    Reply

  3. Minerva Serro
    Jan 11, 2012 @ 20:28:35

    I’m learning something here…. Darn you! (God is GREAT!) Thank you for your words of wisdom… 🙂

    Reply

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