love light bulb

Love Manifesto

by Karen MacDonald

In the midst of a disheartening, divisive election season, the last few days have brought even more disgust and deep dismay.

A Stanford University student who raped a young woman for “only” 20 minutes last year was given a 6-month jail sentence, and he could be released after 3 months for good behavior.  Good behavior?!

On Friday in Orlando, FL, a young woman singer was shot by a man who came to her concert for that purpose, and she died shortly after.

In the early hours of this morning in Orlando, a young man walked into a LGBT nightclub with a handgun and an AR-15 assault rifle and massacred at least 50 patrons, injuring at least 50 more.

What the —– is going on?

As a woman, a defense mechanism, literally, is to recognize that I and my sisters are always potential targets of male power.  As a lesbian woman, I know full well that I and my queer sisters and brothers, for all the legal progress being made, are still despised by many.  It would be easy to put up a wall or to lash out or to pre-judge everyone harshly.  It would be easy—and it would be deadly, to my spirit and to our communal life, to life itself.

Among many diverse spiritual sages over the centuries, Jesus taught another way.  “Love your enemies.”  “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled.”  “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”  “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”  Our spiritual sages keep pointing us to what our spirits already know deep down—love is the only way.  That takes faith and courage and community.  

And it probably takes anger.  And weeping.  Both of those emotions are evidence that the way things are isn’t the way we want it to be.  We don’t want hatred and fear and violence.  So we weep when it seems like those things are holding sway, because our hearts are breaking.  So we get angry at the suffering we humans continue to perpetrate, because we can be and do so much better.

And then we channel the energy that rises in weeping and anger to act for wholeness, for peace; we act in love.  That will mean resisting powers-that-be, in politics, in economics, even in religious institutions, heck, maybe even in our families.  Just make sure that our acting, our speaking, our resisting is done in a spirit of open-heartedness, rather than vengeance or defensiveness.  

What’s going on?  Let’s make sure love is going on….and on….and on…….