Kissing Fish: christianity for people who don't like christianity   by Roger Wolsey

published January, 11 2011

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Chapter 11

The Heart of the Matter:

Love in Action



Love is my religion.   Ziggy Marley


"I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love."  Viktor Frankl


They will know we are Christians by our Love - Peter Scholtes


To love is to risk not being loved in return.  And that's all right too.

You love to love, not to get something back, or it isn't love.  Leo Buscaglia


I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts,

there can be no more hurt, only more love.??  Mother Teresa


“Love is the only shocking act left on the face of the earth.”  Sandra Bernhard


The moment we choose to Love, we begin to move toward freedom.  bell hooks


Jesus said…"Simon son of John, do you love me? …He answered…. "Yes Lord, you know that I love you."   Jesus said, Feed my sheep.  John 21:15-17


Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.  James 1:27


And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 

Paul, 1 Corinthians 13:13


And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him/her. 1 John 4:16


      The greatest lesson we can learn is simply to love and to allow ourselves to be loved in return.  – Nature Boy, Eden Ahbez, made famous by Nat King Cole



…Sensing a theme? 

            As the old Swing era hit put it, "'It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing” and brother-sister, love is that swing. You can meditate and pray, go to church, get baptized and take Communion, light candles and burn incense, read sacred texts, chant, fast and do yoga, and even help out at soup kitchens, but if you aren't doing them with love, it's all a bunch of vapid, empty, horse apples.  I know what I’m talking about.  I’ve got a shed full of them.

            When I started writing this book I thought that the chapter on salvation would be the most important, the most demanding, and the one that I’d have the most anxiety about.  But I’m finally at this one and it occurs to me that this is the one that really matters.  The chapter on salvation puts me at risk for being called a “heretic,” (by those that go around doing that sort of thing) but my discussion of how to put faith and love in action – is what truly matters.  You see, as a follower of Jesus Christ, I have to care more about what Jesus thinks than what Christians think.   

            On top of this theological realization, I’m also forced to admit that I feel somewhat handicapped in writing about love.  I’m not very good at loving.  However, at this point in my life, I have received and given enough love - and have failed to accept or give it – that I just might have some things to say about it. 

            I’m someone who learns things the hard way – especially about love.  And it didn’t help me any to be living in a culture where Christianity has been reduced to legalistic dogmatism and schmaltzy, symbolic sentimentalism.  Too often American Christianity has emphasized right beliefs, right positions, and right doctrines and dogmas.  Too often American Christianity emphasizes the symbols of: wearing crosses (ironically, often made of expensive precious metals and blood diamonds), wearing Christian T-shirts (ironically, often made in sweatshops where the workers are exploited), owning a Thomas Kincade painting[1] or a shelf-full of porcelain Precious Moments figurines, spamming each others email in-boxes with sappy Christian anecdotes, wearing WWJD? or “Live Strong” bracelets on our wrists, having “the Jesus fish” emblem on the back of our cars, and not using swear words.  Too often, it’s all just a bunch of futile exercises in missing the point.  Too often, it’s cultural religiosity that has the trappings and appearance of (what some claim is) Christianity, but none of the heart or soul. 

            People can go to church every week, serve as members of their congregation’s board of trustees, have an encyclopedic knowledge of Christian creeds and orthodoxy, have the Bible entirely memorized, and even diligently visit someone in the nursing home and yet still be completely oblivious to the main point of the Gospel and Jesus’ intention for their life because they miss the proverbial forest for the trees.....

[1] (Ironic…. er, no. He’s actually paid pretty darned well for his work. Nevermind.)

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