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allow yourself to love him

#LoveWins is THE hashtag celebrating #SCOTUS’ decision Friday for #MarriageEquality.

I posted on Facebook:

candi's lovewins facebook post

I read friends’ celebratory words and viewed their pictures, including profile pics awash in rainbow colors.

Then I began to see other friends’ subtle and not-so-subtle rejections of SCOTUS’ ruling – proclaiming that the end is near, that G~d’s word is the same though times may change and even some posts that intend to support our LGBTQ community by saying that we all sin and fall short of G~d’s glory. All of these posts are equally irritating to me.

The affirmation of love, the call to love elicits very close-minded, bigoted and discriminatory replies from those who self-identify with a faith tradition that, on paper more so than in action, professes the world will know us by our love. They claim to still love the other while condemning the other for anything and all things from who they are to what they do – loving with very unlovable words and tones of voice.

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Until now, I’ve not responded much online – after all, I am on vacation. Besides, rarely do these kinds of conversations over what the Bible does and does not say lead to any sort of fruitful dialogue. Rather, my response has been to think about it all and to refuse to linger in irritation or allow my irritation to transform into anger.

#POTUS has been reflecting on #grace. I’ve been reflecting on #love.

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My reflections began as personal ones, not even considering that they may intersect with national events unfolding this weekend, as I continue to seek resolution within myself, to seek a settling of the matter of how best to be in romantic relationships – as I continue to seek how to love. My quest returns me again and again to myself, to the places of lack in my soul – whether I call them empty places or unhealed places or half-filled places. Being close to another shines lights, rattles foundations and rips open closures. That’s what true love is, a call to oneself – whatever kind of love it is, it always requires inner self-work. It actually becomes more about me than the other person, a reality that is the antithesis of what our culture touts as true love.

“I am on the hunt for myself in everybody else. I’m looking for myself in you. And perhaps I can’t find myself until I find it in you. … Just as to love oneself means to deal with oneself beyond all of the limitations, all of the things, the not-good things in oneself that one knows, to look beyond all of that to a center, which if I can ever become aware of it in myself. Then it is out of that center that I move towards all of the other relationships by which my life may be surrounded. And because I am unwilling, despite all of things I know about myself, I am unwilling to give myself up. I cling to myself with a kind of abiding enthusiasm.” ~Howard Thurman

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“There is scarcely anything more difficult than to love one another. … [W]hoever loves must try to act as if he had a great work: he must be much alone and go into himself and collect himself and hold fast to himself; he must work; he must become something! For believe me, the more one is, the richer is all that one experiences. And whoever wants to have a deep love in his life must collect and save for it and gather honey.” ~Rainer Maria Rilke

And so as we call on the world to celebrate love, to wave rainbow flags and shout that love wins, we must remember that we are actually calling for a deep love. We must remember that most of the world has not collected or saved anything to this end. They have not done the work, the grueling inner self-work to be able to regard another’s triumph over discrimination without thinking that their victory somehow defeats the world’s senses of salvation, holiness and righteousness. Most in opposition will not change. They will continue to default to conservative, traditional and dying biblical interpretation and theology as their responses to progress rather than confront the lack and the pain inside of themselves. After all, black churches continue to be burned in 2015 and southerners are publicly protesting the removal of the Confederate flag in 2015. African Americans know that changed laws do not change hearts.

Only each person doing her/his own work within can change one heart … and one mind. Only becoming self-actualized individuals grants us the capacity, the bandwidth to open up broadly enough to even approach truly and fully loving the other. Perhaps we can begin with our personal relationships and grow to extend love beyond our inner circles. That hasn’t exactly been my path; yet, my path to personal love is requiring me to reevaluate what I mean when I declare my love for my neighbor.

Am I truly allowing myself to love “him”?

(Read more, if you like, to see what I mean, a bit of back-story on this quest for personal best-love, regarding a past romantic relationship.):

I recall my counselor’s words to me one rainy afternoon. I was exasperated and drained from all of the unfulfilled desires and unresolved emotions I had been carrying around within me since my then-lover severed our connection. Sharing my angst with my counselor, I expected him to encourage me to be strong, persevere, focus on myself, re-route my thoughts to thanksgiving for all that I had in my life rather than all I considered to be a loss, etc. But I didn’t get that.

Instead, he said, “Allow yourself to love him.”

“What?”

“Yes. Are you in any danger? Does he hurt you physically or abuse you emotionally?”

“No.”

“Then allow yourself to love him.”

Well, that meant also, allowing him to continue to hurt me via my love for him. That also meant allowing myself to feel the vast land beyond the keyhole smallergreat void of his absence. What I’ve come to know, that I suppose my counselor intended for me to learn and from which to grow, is that somehow this allowance of simultaneous love and pain facilitates a maturity of being that we never obtain by avoiding it, by wallowing in anger, hurt, resentment, betrayal, etc. – all of the, ummm …, more acceptable emotions when we end ties with someone that means so much to us.

What I know is that after all the emotions subside around the cause of the breakup, we’re left with the love that was present all along. During the angry rants, it never left. During the weeping, it never left. During the miscommunication and realization that it’s over, it never left. And somehow we can feel it deeper later than we ever did before relationship ended.

As I continue to feel love, the question then becomes, “Do I keep moving forward without him or do I let him know that I still care?” Because, right?, we have this need to communicate our feelings. Not communicating passionate feelings like love for another is a heavy thang. But to what end? Am I sharing because I want to get back together? What if he ain’t even thinkin’ ’bout me? What, then, do I do with the counsel of allowing myself to love another – no matter where the other is?

We realize that our loving others has way more to do with ourselves than with the object of our affection. (Revisit Thurman and Rilke.) And so what we do is we decide to discard tradition’s ineffective, shallow notions of love. We decide instead to embrace the deeper thing. We return to self, to solitude. We grow taller, stronger so that we can indeed love the other with a love so great, so strong that we can abide with each other in true harmony and peace amid all of our differences and disagreements.
Then, love truly wins.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” ~Yeshua (Matthew 22:37-40)
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(c) 2015 candi dugas, llc

sexuality in the news: down ass chick, gay marriage & catholic censure

sexuality in the news: down ass chick, gay marriage & catholic censure

Over the last week a number of articles and blog posts have crossed my desk that make wonderful contributions to our sexuality and spirituality discussions. I share them with you in this edition of sexNspirit.

What are your thoughts on these perspectives?

 The Evolution of a Down Ass Chick ~Crunk Feminist Collective

“Down Ass Chick: a woman who is a lady but she can hang with thugs. She will lie for you but still love you. She will die for you but cry for you. Most importantly she will kill for you like she’ll comfort you. She is a ride or die bitch who will do whatever it takes to be by your side. She’ll be your Bonnie if  you are her Clyde. Thugs love these bitches and they show this by showering them with stacks of cash, flashy jewels and rides. (Urban Dictionary)

I taught a class on black masculinity during the pre-summer session and the course covered everything from black man stereotypes, and the patriarchal requirements of black masculinity to big black penis myths, homophobia, and hip hop.  One of our most recent classes on romantic relationships between heterosexual black men and women inspired an interesting conversation that stayed for days. Forgive me for a quick (perhaps academic) summary.” Read more.

Baptists on Gay Marriage ~Tom Sabulis, Moderator, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“When President Barack Obama voiced his support for gay marriage, it set off another lively debate, some of which was captured on our pages last week. Today, two Baptist ministers on opposite sides of the issue hold sway.

. . .

By Randall C. Bailey – The basic understanding of marriage in the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament is one man with many women. Polygamy is the norm for marriage in both Testaments. The only ones to be limited to monogamy in the Bible are bishops and deacons, according to 1 Tim 3:2, 12. We in the church today have evolved from the biblical view of polygamy and embraced monogamy for all, not just for bishops and deacons.

. . .

By Bryant Wright – When President Barack Obama came out for same-sex marriage last month, it was greeted with pure elation by gay rights advocates. It was just 43 years ago that homosexuals fought back against the police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Greenwich Village, in New York, marking the beginning of the gay rights movement.” Read more.

hiding to make love and being violent in broad daylight, john lennon

image from k. ballinger’s facebook photos

Then after the Dr. Bailey posted the AJC blog post, he reposted an article from 2006.

Sanctified Hatred: Why Amending the Constitution to Ban Same-Sex Marriage Is Wrong ~Randall C. Bailey, Center for American Progress

“When I first heard of the proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, I opposed it with heart and mind as an ordained Baptist minister who holds a Ph.D. in Biblical studies and as the brother of a gay Black man, Mark Aaron, who died of AIDS-related complications. My training and tradition helped form my theological beliefs and perspectives. My brother helped me with my spiritual journey and my understanding of culture.” Read more.

Vatican Censures US Nun Over Sexuality Book ~Ms. Magazine

“The Vatican censured a US nun, Sister Margaret Farley, on Monday because she wrote a book on sexuality. The book, “Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics,” focused on sexuality and veered from the Church’s teachings on masturbation, homosexuality, remarriage after divorce, and gay marriage. According to CBS News, Farley said that she had hoped to study sexuality through a variety of theologies, religious traditions, and the human experience. She stated that the book was not intended to be a reflection of the views of the Catholic Church.” Read more.

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candi’s words – © 2012 candi dugas, llc

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