Saturday, October 29, 2011

What Is Love

Today I would like to share parts of a sermon, I recently heard, written by the Rev. Debra Asis, St. Barnabas on The Desert Episcopal Church. Debra has generously given me permission to share her thoughts.

In her sermon, she began with Paul’s letter to the Romans. Paul wrote “Love is the fulfilling of the law.” Of course this begs the question – what is love? She went on saying “I can remember my first love. His name was Michel. We went to kindergarten together. We put our rugs next to each other for nap time. We played, we kissed once. I can still see his face as clear as a bell. Then there was my first grown up love. You know that love, complete with heart palpitations and sleepless nights. Enchanted, intoxicated, pierced with the cupid’s deadly arrow. Crazy, romantic love.

The Greeks called this kind of love eros. It is about longing and sexual desire. It’s about finding an object that we believe will satisfy our longing – something or someone to fill the empty place inside us. Eros is a self-serving kind of love.

Is this the kind of love Paul was talking about? I don’t think so.

What about this kind of love? I love my daughter, I love old friends, I love the people with whom I work, I love my church. The Greeks called this kind of love philia. It is where Philadelphia gets its name – the city of brotherly love. Philia is a mutual kind of love. It’s the kind of love that also extends to our pets or places. I love my home, I love my country. Philia is a fraternal, brotherly or a personal kind of love.

Is this the love that Paul was talking about? I don’t think so.

Eros and philia are loves that make us feel good or valued or give us a sense of identity. To a greater or lesser degree they are directed toward satisfying our emotional state. Eros and philia are self-satisfying loves.

The kind of love that Paul is talking about is agape love and agape love has everything to do with the person who is the object of our love. Rather than seeing the other person as an object that will satisfy us, we see the other person as an opportunity to give ourself. Agape love is self-giving, rather than self-satisfying. This is agape love; love that values the other. It is a way of life. I believe it is the way life is supposed to be right here on earth in God’s Kingdom.”

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Look

From "Thinking Out Loud", a guest post by Loys Gilley Bolduc

My mother was the disciplinarian in our family. She did not need advice from Dr. Spock or a child psychologist. Nor did she believe in “wait until your father gets home.” Her method was to administer the punishment while the misdeed or behavior was fresh in mind. She was fair and just and made sure the punishment fit the crime. Usually, all it took was a look to get us back on track. It was difficult to believe her beautiful blue eyes, usually so gentle and compassionate, could produce such a scathing glare. If the look failed to get results she resorted to verbal tactics. Rarely did she administer physical punishment.

I do recall Mother being pushed to her limits. Since this particular incident involved me, I can relate to it with total recall.

My brother is four years older than I. We were best buddies as kids and we still are. When I was about seven and he was eleven, I idolized him to the point of imitating his every word and movement. This annoyed him and the more he objected, the more I teased. When his patience finally wore thin he resorted to angry words and eventually a little physical contact. Enter our mother! This behavior went well beyond ‘the look’. After separating us and verbally setting us straight, she instructed us to go to the bank of the river, where the willows grew thick. She told us each to cut a willow branch the thickness of our little finger. Switches in hand,and already humiliated and contrite, we marched back for our punishment. Each, in turn, were given several lashes across the behind and upper legs. It really smarted, but did no damage except to our pride.

Did the punishment fit the crime? The real punishment wasn’t the switching, but the humiliation of having to supply the means of punishment.

Did we learn our lesson? Yes, I think so. I lightened up on my teasing.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Spend Time With A Child

by Lois Jamieson

There is a marvelous small book called “To A Child Love is Spelled Time”, by Mac Anderson and Lance Wubbels. Their book carries a great message. I often pick it up and read a few pages because I agree with them that what a child really needs from us is time.

My children and grandchildren are adults now and so my interest in children is centered around the children at a wonderful small school, StarShine Academy. StarShine serves children who live below poverty level in a crime area in Phoenix. I have volunteered at the school for over six years, and with my daughter, I have a blog called “Kids Without Stuff” and an upcoming book by the same name.

A lot of the children at StarShine have material needs – food, clothes, books and so forth. These are easy to fulfill. I only have to make a few phone calls and these needs can be met.

It is much harder to fill their need to be listened to. To be offered encouragement, love, values and strength. These needs can only be met when an adult gives them the gift of time. We do have dedicated volunteers as tutors and they certainly spend time with the children. I think, though, there is a need for what I call ‘listeners’. I have had the privilege of spending time with some, but not enough, of the children. I have read to the children and have spent time in special classes with many of the girls. This year I am going to try to do less talking and more listening.

Do yourself a favor and spend time with a child.

To read more about StarShine and the kids go to