From a Theological Perspective, the image of the Christ and the New Covenant (Testament) makes it clear that love in action, unconditional love for one another is a healthier approach for the Individual and the Community. Christ as a historic figure would have not seen himself as a Christian, that came later and in hindsight many of the contributions of early Church Fathers must be seen in the context of the times.
The inclusion of ‘Gentiles ‘ without the requirement for ‘Circumcision’ was given much thought. If seen from the perspective of Comparative Religious Approaches, spiritual growth and the development of ‘Love ‘ without fear and guilt (often used as a control mechanism both in Traditional Church Teachings and in the revival of the modern day Mega Church Cults) adds nothing of spiritual or religious merit on that journey, being mere opinion pieces added by the particular ‘Pastor ‘ or religious ‘Cult’ leader. Many of the references quoted from Scripture speaking more about the very nature of the Pastor than the concept of love. Love (without any desire to give this a scientific label) is one of the most creative forces in the Universe. Love without fear is both liberating and empowering.
Fearless love does not imply reckless behaviour nor a breach in the Individuals Moral Compass, it is a liberation from those teachings that by their very nature disempowered women, labelling them as lesser beings liable to exploitation and use by ‘Satanic Forces ‘! This is a complete non sense, the image of Satan is one that may blind side us to the very evil we encounter in dealing with other human beings. The Predators , the seemingly mindless economic Sociopaths and others that we have allowed into positions of power as they bring about short term profit without any regard to long term damage and harm to this Planet , the impact on our Children and those in our care , those that we love.
Love is not an exclusive act; there are degrees of love, facets of love. The love of a companion / spouse and the love of a child exist as nourishing loves that encourage us to be more mindful in all our actions. The love of all things that surround us, be they people or the Trees and wonders of nature, teaches respect and mindfulness. The death of the Christ and the Resurrection as metaphors teach us about the eternal nature of love and its ongoing impact even after we leave our physical bodies behind.
Love and Sex are often confused , sexual expression between consenting adults can be a wonderful experience yet in the marketing of sexual behaviours , it seems to me that we have confused the ‘loving and giving pleasure to the beloved ‘ with the idea of control and personal gratification at the cost of the very being of the beloved . The image of the ‘Dead’ Christ and the manipulative and damaging teachings that ‘ Christ Died for you! ‘Is an oxymoron. Christ, if we accept the reality and impact of Christian teachings on the modern World, was the ‘last’ Scapegoat. (There were earlier Hellenic Examples of such ideas). In being the last Scapegoat, Christ liberates us from the malevolent teachings of the past and enables us to live productive and loving lives in harmony with all. This does not mean that we live in a ‘Disney Land’ Fairy Tales; it does highlight the fact that in the exercise of our free will, we should be mindful in all that we do. Not because we may face some mealy mouthed un-informed comments and critiques from fellow human beings, but because at the end of each day we (as individual spiritual human beings) should make the time to acknowledge our own flaws and own them in an effort to make us better human beings. We are all tempted; we all fall, knowing this allows us to reach out to one another without judgement in acceptance that many fall not because they are bad or evil but because of circumstances beyond their control. We can reach out, loving ourselves and being comfortable with that which we are and at the same time offer options that do not seek to control or impede the spiritual growth of another.
In these days of manufactured compliance, marketing, the marketing of self as a product; we are challenged to examine our very being! “A man that knows himself well loved will move Mountains, a man feeling himself unloved will barely move his bowels! “. In Christ we find the Rebel that questioned the status quo, the one that spend time with outcasts and those on the edges of his Society. If we believe that we are all one family connected by spiritual links, that Paradise is a viable option within reach if we approach this Planet with caring love, then the power of Love will move us. The Kingdom of God does not lie on any map; it resides within each and every one of us. Let our ‘Love’ be mindful and gentle , allow each of us to be gentle on ourselves so that we may learn to be gentle as lovers with all that surrounds us knowing that such love is not just satisfying but comes with a sense of duty and obligations that only a true lover knows and understands ! AK