"There are a thousand hacking at the
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LOVE: See Love under Definitions.
LOVE versus INDIFFERENCE: The opposite of love is not hate, but indifference. When we hate somebody, we are at least acknowledging that they matter and they are somebody of note in that they can have an impact on our lives. We are at least showing them some respect in that they can have an affect, and we are paying them some attention which everyone needs in order to live. When we are indifferent to someone we are making a statement that they don't count, that they can have no impact on our lives, one way or another, whatsoever; they are totally insignificant, worthless, minuscule.
LOVING JESUS: Jesus has told us what he wants or how we can love him. There are only two ways, one direct and one indirect, and they both involve loving ourselves simultaneously while loving him. Primarily and directly we can love him by focusing on his message, paying attention to what he said and did, and choosing to believe what he said. John 14:23 "If any man loves me, he will cherish my word." Secondarily or indirectly we can love him by supporting and cherishing his true spiritual brothers. Mt 25:40 "As you have done it unto one of the least of these my brothers, you have done it unto me." John 13:35 "By this will all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." John 15:17 "This I instruct you, that you love one another."
HUMAN INVOLVEMENT vs RELATIONSHIP: There are three types of human involvement or social transaction−taking, giving and trading, and one type of human relationship, sharing. People can be generally categorized into four types based on their primary way of interacting with others−takers, givers, traders, and sharers.
Most of us fairly easily come to understand that taking is wrong, and nobody likes a taker. In the material realm of this world takers are called conmen or thieves and eventually wind up incarcerated or ostracized. Taking in a transaction means the taker "wins" and someone else loses.
We have been taught and conditioned by Christianity to think of giving as being right, proper and virtuous. However, when taken to its logical conclusion, givers go broke−there are too many takers. Giving, called charity, is ultimately demeaning and counter-productive to those receiving. Giving encourages and produces takers and taking. Giving in a transaction means the giver loses and someone else wins.
Trading is the prevailing order of the day in our competitive world. Caveat Emptor−let the buyer beware! May the best trader win! Even in a fair trade where both parties improve their position, both parties sustain loss, they both have to give something up so that they can get what they want or need. The trading mentality permeates our entire society and world. In the erotic realm, trading is called prostitution; however, the coin of the realm is not always currency. This "coin" can be status, security, respectability, or other political or social advantages, it can even be having children.
The fourth possibility concerns relationship and is called sharing. Sharing is a win/win situation, everybody wins, nobody loses. When Jesus asked the rich young ruler to sell his possessions and give to the poor, his primary concern was not for the poor but for the rich young ruler who was going to lose nothing but obstacles to following Jesus and entering the real Kingship of the heavens or realm of goodness.
MARRIAGE: True marriage is only sanctified or validated
by romantic love and naturally committed love, not by any formal rite or vows or priestly blessing.
Marriage as a legal contract is strictly a human institution and was
never ordained, instituted, or authorized by the creator. Marriage is
seen as "making a commitment", but love doesn't demand commitment and
loss of freedom, love CREATES commitment. Much of the time, the whole mentality of
marriage as it has evolved in the world is one of ownership and
obligation, completely opposite to the ideal way to live.
Let's remember that Jesus had nothing good or encouraging to say about marriage. The idea, that some "representative" of God sanctifies marriage in some formal ceremony, and anything else is "immoral", is nothing short of pretentious and absurd.