Tag Archives: faith

Love

Love can be wielded like a cudgel. There is the commercial Love has no Labels. Love is about diversity and inclusion. From the my Baltimore Catechism we learned of the three theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity; faith in our God, hope in the promise of heaven, and charity which is benevolent, disinterested, and generous, bringing forth friendship and communion. Most say Faith, Hope and Love. But no. Charity– ‘love one another as I have loved you.’ Open, sacrificial, giving, no strings, no tag lines.

Recently there was a TED talk by a Dr. Mary Donohue, a ‘preeminent keynote speaker on multigenerational workplace’.  Dr. Donohue’s TED talk is about the ways in which the other generations communicate enabling one generation to talk to the other so, in her words “work doesn’t suck!”  She uses a phrase like ‘conversation clever,’ describing the generations as builders, doers, adapters, brilliant and then neatly goes on to prove each point with very commercial examples. Sigh. Her talk is clever, practiced, polished and gives each generation something to like about itself and dislike about the others. Supposedly this will help communication but I don’t think it will advance love.

The way we use love  in a commercial campaign is about the same. Slick, practiced, polished and neatly pigeonholed to show it is all right for same sex love, to love a sibling who is disabled, to love one of another ethnicity. And I get it. I don’t think that is the love that will save the planet–politically or culturally.

In my faith Charity is the greatest of them all. In this world Truth is the greatest of them all.  There is the ideal that  love will solve our problems. I think of a banner my sister gave me while in college. We laughed about it because it is so real, so true. It is easy to say that love will conquer all. But no. Not really. It won’t conquer. It can’t even alleviate the distress. Just look at our national politics and all who say that they only want everyone to love one another. Do we see everyone as willing to be  ‘benevolent and open’?

I can say I love everyone. Love is so much easier. But truth, truth is the coin of love, it is what makes love potent, desirable, unshakable. Truth is harder than love because you may have to admit to a lie, one that may have protected you, that made you look good, that served your interest.

Why this interest in truth?

In the middle grade mysteries I write, while love is the emotion that drives the character, it is the truth that finds the killer. A character can grow in love, but it is in finding the truth that lets the main character understand and be ready to take responsibility, to grow up. Putting  together means, motive and opportunity and identifying the killer is to find the truth. Only truth breaks through.

In nonfiction it is the weeding out the propaganda, the bias, the self-interest, both in studying the historical figure and in assaying the author. In nonfiction, with a historical perspective, truth can be victim to the sham of love. It is the sham of love that  wrapped a whole people allowing them to  suffer totalitarianism, brutality and oppression for decades. Only truth will break through.

 

Bountiful

It’s the day after Thanksgiving. Both the girls, their girls and their husbands, including in-laws and baby grands sat down for a wonderful meal. Was it all peaches and cream? No. It was not. There are strains, there are feelings, there are issues. This is family. I get that. Family is complicated. We disagree. But because we love and respect each other we talk. Do we convince? No, we do not. We have had a variety of ways to get where we are.

It is the day after Thanksgiving. I don’t care who you voted for. I don’t care why you voted one way or another. I really don’t care that you didn’t vote. We are a family spread out across a country, complicated, sometimes disagreeable. Are we one the right path? I have no idea. But I have a belief that the system of government we have will always work.

It is the day after Thanksgiving and I appreciate the gift of faith.  My faith is one that sustained saints and sinners for thousands of years. We practice our faith with a feeling of security. We are not afraid of the future, even though we know that at this time it holds for us some difficult issues, it will not be easy. But that is why faith sustains us.

It is the day after Thanksgiving and the truth is we have bountiful lives and we are more than grateful.

Picking and Choosing

I like to pick and choose. My mom would have called it ‘being discriminating’. As in, perceptive, insightful, astute. Choosing to have only one drink at a party. Choosing to get eight hours sleep per night. Choosing to put the girls in private schools. Charting a difference in the options that are available and making choices, hopefully, good ones.

You can pick and choose your ideology as in a system of ideas and ideals, esp. one that forms the basis of economic or political theory and policy. And we do, pick and choose. We seek cogent arguments to back up our choices. We can be social and fiscal conservatives. Social conservatives and fiscal liberals or mix and match anyway we choose. Ideology allows us to build a system that works for us. I can like all or part of an ideology, I can blend ideologies and make that work for me.

It is difficult when we are ideological as in adhering to a system. It is also difficult when we use that term ideological as a pejorative when talking about those of a certain political party, usually the opposite political party, whichever that is. I see a problem today in the place where ideology and faith cross paths. There may be some ideology in faith, but there is no faith in ideology. Faith is a strong belief in God, or in the doctrines of religion based on spiritual understanding rather than proof. In faith, Catholic faith, there is no option to pick and choose.

I believe. I don’t know. I have faith.

Right now, Pope Francis is getting a lot of press for his statements, both verbal and visual. As a cradle Catholic, I would say, Francis has mastered the Marshall McLuhan ‘medium is the message’ ideal, lol, how like a Jesuit! Staying out of the Papal Apartments–brilliant. Talking about the inclusive Church–also brilliant. His most recent statement about the ‘tyranny of unfettered capitalism’ has the progressives cheering and the conservatives aghast. Why? Because they are trying to fit a faith based statement about the dignity of man into their ideology. Francis, no less than his predecessors, all of them, believes; he is speaking from faith. What both sides forget is that he believes that abortion is a sin, and so is same sex marriage, no matter how much his faith is inclusive. The Pope represents a total belief system, no options to pick and choose, a faith that has outlasted most ideologies. I believe. A lot. Totally. I have faith.