(and all that Star Trek stuff … )
For me, love IS the final frontier.
A frontier with a safe side and a scary side. A safe “conditional” side and a scary “unconditional” side. We put a toe over the line … test the “new ground” … check if we are going to get burned or not.
We call that “commitment”. Except that “conditional” is so ingrained that “commitment” is also “conditional”.
Conditional is what we know. What we have been taught. What we are told is good. What we are taught is “love”. The culture of song, of writing, of imagery, of law … all says “conditional” is good – “unconditional” is bad.
I give You give = good. You give I give = good. It’s all “transaction”. And the church is no different:
Once you are saved, then you have eternal life. And how do I get saved? Repeat after me … “I believe in what you believe.”
And what do “I believe” … ?
I believe that I was born to sin. That I have no control or choice in being born to sin. That the imagery of the Garden is my only explanation for this genetic and irresistible “fact”. I believe I am flawed and cannot save myself. Only in agreeing to “I believe what you believe” can God do that.
Except even when “I believe what you believe” then (I also believe that) sin is so pervasive and remains so irresistible that I must carry on sinning even when I have been saved. And the transaction is embedded and ingrained even in this: my salvation is conditional.
And my love must, therefore, also remain conditional. Because only God can love unconditionally. Because I am flawed and never can.
And then the church – being scripturally correct – warns of “false teaching”. And that troubles me …
The hypocrisy of religion and faith that requires my conditional belief. That excludes a list (as long as my arm) and validates that exclusion using “scripture”. That views those who do good deeds AND who love without condition BUT are without any “I believe what you believe” (that is religious) as “Good People – BUT …”
“GoodPeople +” are those who are “I believe what you believe” – and “GoodPeople -“ are those who do good deeds and love others but who have (yet) to agree to “I believe what you believe”.
And for me that has become the biggest discriminator – the biggest hypocrisy.
The “I believe what you believe” is a conditional salvation that excludes those whose love is already (in this lifetime) “unconditional”. For religion/faith teach/preach (as scripturally correct) that “unconditional love” is unattainable in this lifetime because of sin. That only God can love unconditionally.
I believe in God.
A “God” who did not AND never has “created me flawed”. I have no answers as to the order and magnitude of “creation”. I cannot define and detail who and what God is.
But I can define and detail love.
We each can do that. We each know what it is to be loved and loving. We each know what it is to be NOT loved and loving. We each know that love transcends transaction. In that private place deep down inside each of us. That place which connects rather than divides. That place which we protect as best we can. That place which transcends law, culture, religion, secular, personal preference and public masks.
For me, more and more, that is the closest I can come to describe “God”.
God that could be called Love. Love that could be called Anything At All. For this “God” is bigger even than names. Way bigger than “I believe what you believe”.
A “God” who has no need of sin and salvation. A “God” who desires that I re-find my childhood … my innocence … my trust in others … my natural born ability to love perfectly and unconditionally. To be free to be connected to all and all to me.
What strength there is in that. What kindness there is in that. What perfection there is in that.
And yet the very bible – that is now covered in conditions – teaches and preaches just that:
Love is the greatest! Love self, love all and love without any “I believes” getting in the way. Love is always the answer. Love is always enough. Love is what we are born knowing before we know anything at all.
Sin and being born flawed is a control device. Explaining love as merely a bunch of chemical reactions is a control device. Salvation is a control device. Science is a control device. Seven different types of love (or four – or whatever the current “scripturally correct count”) is also a control device.
… We each know what it is to be NOT loved and loving. We each know that love transcends transaction. In that private place deep down inside each of us. That place which connects rather than divides. That place which we protect as best we can. That place which transcends law, culture, religion, secular, personal preference and public masks …
Because we are all born knowing love without condition –
Before we ever knew love at all.