Monday, August 8, 2011

It's "Love Your Neighbor," Not "Alienate Your Neighbor"

I heard about love quite a bit in my teens. It was the '60s, and that's another topic, almost.

Some of the '60s "love" was a misplaced celebration of sex. I've talked about sex, lust, and getting a grip, before. Bottom line, God made sex, and it's a basically good part of creation. (May 23, 2011)

Another sort of love that crazy kids like me sang about was the "brotherhood, love, and understanding" kind of love. That seemed to drive some of the more tightly-wound older generation berserk. Possibly, I suspect, because many of my peers acted as if commies were people, and weren't appalled by 'mixed marriages.'1 Shocking!

With Friends Like These - - -

The idea of moderation is important in the Catholic Church. At least, I keep running into "moderation" or similar words.

I'm okay with that. Partly because I can get overly-focused, and like to be reminded that there's a whole lot besides my 'enthusiasm of the day' to get excited about. I also appreciate teachings about moderation, because I've run into folks who are anything but moderate.

They're not fun to be around. Not for me. Even if - make that particularly if - they're supporting a cause or idea I approve of.

For example, I care about "environmental issues." I think having clean air and water make sense.

Then there are folks who seem convinced that:
  • Technology is evil
  • Mother Nature is a real person
  • Humanity is a disease
    • That's killing Mother Nature
They're concerned about "environmental issues," but I don't think their approach helps.

Frightful Faith, Malignant Virtue, and Other Oddities

On the religious side, there's what I sometimes call "The First Church of Holy Hate." (May 26, 2010) That sort of malignant virtue encouraged me to learn what Christianity was really about, which led me to become a Catholic.

(Reuters photo, via, used w/o permission)

Folks like the Westboro, Kansas, "God hates fags" church are loud, but like I've said before: they aren't typical Christians.

Living in America, I've run into more Protestant wackadoos than their Catholic counterparts: probably because an American who is Christian is more likely to be Protestant than Catholic.

Catholics have our own 'anger is next to Godliness' folks, too. They're the ones who give the impression that all Catholics hate Protestants.

We don't. Not all of us.

For one thing, we're not allowed to hate people. Any people. (April 21, 2011)

For another, there are more than 1,000,000,000 of us alive today: and we're not all like the nest of Protestant-hating Catholics you may have run into.

Who Says We Should Love People?

When someone asked my Lord to pick the greatest commandment, he said it was to love God and love your neighbor. (Matthew 22:36-40)

And, as I wrote last Friday, Jesus let us know that it's a big neighborhood.

"Make Disciples of All Nations"

One of the Catholic Church's standing orders is to "make disciples of all nations." (Matthew 28:19) I think that's easier when folks can tell that we love them. Letting 'the unbeliever' know just how much he or she is despised, reviled, and loathsome? That seems more like a page out of the 'how to lose friends and alienate people' handbook.

Paul had a few words to say about love. A whole chapter of 1 Corinthians, in fact:
"1 If I speak in human and angelic tongues 2 but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing. 3 Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, (love) is not pompous,..." (1 Corinthians 13:1-4)
Related posts:

1 That's "mixed marriage," as in an Irishman marrying a Norwegian, or a European marrying an African.

"Mixed marriage" in the Catholic sense of the word is a marriage between a Catholic and a baptized non-Catholic. The Church says that "does not constitute an insurmountable obstacle for marriage," but recognizes that such a marriage requires special attention. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1633-1637) I was a baptized non-Catholic when my wife and I married: and I've told about my conversion to Catholicism before.

1 comment:

Brigid said...

Starting here, everything is in bold: ""Make Disciples of All Nations"

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From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.