Category Archives: love

TRECK: The Journey toward Redemptive Love

On Saturday, May 19th, at the wedding for Britain’s Prince Harry and American Actress Meghan Markle, Bishop Michael Curry gave a meaningful and uplifting sermon about the redemptive power of love. I thoroughly enjoyed the sermon and the exuberance with which Bishop Curry gave it. And it has had me reflecting upon the principles of tolerance, respect, empathy, compassion, and kindness – which together make the acronym TRECK. If you are a regular reader of my blog, then you know that I’ve been writing for months about how I believe that this particular set of principles could help set our world right if we all applied them towards all people.

First, Bishop Curry’s sermon reminded me of how I grappled with the concept of love and whether or not to include it in TRECK. In a way, I did include it, because the way that I think of kindness is the same as the way that the Dalai Lama talks about kindness, as in Loving Kindness. I believe that the type of kindness we should give to one another is a type of deep, caring kindness, based upon love.

Second, and most importantly, I believe that through reaching out to one another with tolerance, respect, empathy, compassion, and kindness, we put ourselves on the path to true and abiding love. This is the kind of redemptive love that Curry is promoting. I believe that true love needs to come from somewhere and be based upon something. Tolerance, respect, empathy, compassion, and kindness can all be contained within love, but true love, healthy love, lasting love, cannot exist without these five elements.

Yes, the world needs love. But love needs a foundation. It needs to be built upon something. And that thing is TRECK.

Can there be love without tolerance? Bigotry will surely stand in the way of love. We must first learn to see all people as equal in order to truly love them.

Can there be love without respect? Love without respect is not truly love at all. Love that is built without mutual respect will quickly erode and fall away.

Can there be love without empathy? Certainly we must learn to see through the eyes of another and understand things from their perspective if we are going to be able to love them.

Can there be love without compassion? Caring deeply for the pain of others can sprout into love. But love without deep regard for the suffering of another is hollow and meaningless.

Can there be love without kindness? Cruelty in the name of love is not really love at all. Certainly love must be kind in order to be pure and uplifting. Love and kindness go hand-in-hand.

So, in the end, if there is to be love, then there must be tolerance, respect, empathy, compassion and kindness. We must learn to have global TRECK for all people if we are to love them. So, keep practicing the principles of TRECK and surely we can achieve a truly redemptive and lasting love.

Words Matter: Immigrants Are Not “Animals”

Yesterday, during an immigration roundtable at the White House, President Trump referred to certain undocumented immigrants as “animals.” Specifically, he said, “These aren’t people. These are animals.” He said this in reference to specific undocumented immigrants the government is working to expel from the country whom he feels are particularly bad people. He said, “…you wouldn’t believe how bad these people are.”

My problem with Mr. Trump’s rhetoric is that it is another in a growing list of ways he has disparaged immigrants and people of color since announcing his bid for the presidency. By calling a select group of undocumented immigrants “animals” he is acting to further create an us vs. them mentality in the American people toward undocumented immigrants and people of Latin descent. He is fomenting rage toward a class of people who are already having a hard time being seen as whole, worthy, and just people by some Americans.

I suppose one could argue that the President was merely playing to his base, as many who voted to put him in office probably already hold these views toward many undocumented immigrants. But the fact remains, our President’s rhetoric toward immigrants and people of color is bad and is not improving. For me, this comes down to respect. Our President seems to lack a proper amount of respect for many people in the world – be they American citizens of citizens of South American countries, South African countries, or others.

Once again, I am calling upon President Trump to cultivate within himself respect for all people – regardless of race, skin color, sexual orientation, gender, or religion. It is never too late to change. Mr. Trump needs to learn to empathize with people who are different than himself, just as we all need to develop our ability to do this.

Perhaps President Trump is providing us all with a learning opportunity. We all can learn to grow our tolerance, respect, empathy, compassion, and kindness towards all people, especially those who are different from us. In the end we are all human beings. We all have essentially the same needs and desires.

Immigrants to the United States, regardless of legal status, come here seeking what all human beings desire – safety, security, the basic necessities of life, and the opportunity to become their best expressions of themselves. We are all human. We all desire to be loved, accepted, and respected.

Let’s all work to make this a nation and a world we can be proud of. Let’s all strive to treat one another with tolerance, respect, empathy, compassion, and kindness.

The Dystopian Future is Now

Imagine a future in which elementary schools are attacked by men with guns who have lost even the most basic respect for human life. These men, so warped by the violence depicted in the news, popular culture, the internet, and even video game, take to playing a sick game of their own in which they prey on the lives of the most innocent among us in savage attacks. In this future U.S., society has become so plagued by random acts of violence and mass shootings that some cities are considering placing emergency tourniquet kits in public places in a desperate attempt to save innocent lives. This future, rife with misery and near-daily news of despicable, horrible acts, is now.

This week began with news of another mass shooting. This time at a Waffle House in the Nashville. Just a few weeks ago there was news out of San Diego that their city council is considering posting tourniquet kits in public spaces so that they can be better prepared when these seemingly inevitable mass shootings occur. These are dark days in the United States and we have no one to blame for them but ourselves.

For decades, we have been celebrating violence as a nation through our television shows, movies, music, video games, and sports. We have attached violence to masculinity as if the one was inherent in the other and inseparable. We’ve created gun laws that are less strict than driving laws. We have desensitized ourselves to violence and made the tools for violence readily available. And now we wonder why we have a problem.

If we want to leave the dystopian future that is now, then there is not just one thing we must do, there are many. But all of these things – from enacting common-sense gun legislation to improving mental health services to calling for a reduction of violence in media – do boil down to a single thing: restoring respect for human life.

We must relearn holding life sacred. We must recapture the desire to love and be kind to one another simply because it is the right thing to do. We must teach our children to be sensitive and gentle – yes, even our boys. We must care for our mentally ill. We must encourage compassion. We must sow the seeds of peace as we once sowed the seeds of violence. We must work toward a brighter future.

I hope you will join with me in pledging to treat one another with respect, empathy, compassion, and kindness. Together, we can transform the U.S. and the world. Real change is possible. We just need to want it badly enough to be willing to improve how we treat one another. I love you. Please love one another.

Here’s to a better tomorrow.

When Jesus Visited the USA

The following is a parable.

Jesus Free Use

In the days after Jesus’ Resurrection, He walked the Earth. It’s a little-known fact that before He arose again to Heaven, He traveled across the seas and through time to visit the United States of America in the modern day. You see, being God, He could do this.

Jesus stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, like so many great orators before Him. Soon, realizing that it was The Risen Lord standing before them, a crowd of thousands gathered. Then, Jesus spoke. He said, “Come children and sit at my feet, for you are the most precious members of my flock.” And the children came and felt the comfort of His presence. Jesus continued, “My dear Americans, I visit you at a most tumultuous time. Your country is in chaos and there is a great deal of grief and strife. I have come to share with you again the same simple message I shared with others what probably seems like so very long ago.”

People crowded closer to Jesus, for they were sure that He was going to tell them how to cure their nation’s ills. He said, “Here is my message to you all in this place, at this time: Love one another.” A murmur spread through the throngs of gatherers for they were certain they must have misheard Him. Surely, His message could not be so simple for such a complex time. Jesus said, “I’ll repeat that again: Love one another. I look around your country and I see the same problem playing out in place after place… you have forgotten to love one another.”

Jesus said, “When you are wondering how to resolve the issues you are facing today, don’t ask ‘What would Jesus do?’ Instead, ask this: ‘Which choice is more like loving one another?’ For that is the true message of My life and My work. Love one another as I have loved you. Love one another despite your differences. Love one another even when you can’t seem to find common ground. And through your love you will find the right path forward.”

“Don’t fight. Don’t argue. Work together for the common good. Only through getting to know one another and realizing that you really aren’t all that much different will you be able to see how to fix your problems. Be kind. Forgive. Make peace. Know that My Father has made you all in His image and We love you all equally. So, love one another equally as well.”

And with that, Jesus bestowed a blessing upon them and left.

And their hearts were filled with the love of God Almighty. They hugged each other and cried out with joy! And from that day forward things started to improve. For Americans remembered to love each other.