Rob Voyle's Appreciative Way Blog
Living in Love
Posted: May 19, 2011 by Rob Voyle
We get one choice in life: To live in fear or to live in love.
What do you use your religion for: To contain your fear or to liberate love in your life?
In a great sermon the Sunday after 9/11, my associate at the time, Chris Rankin-Williams said: "The challenge of this life is not to stay alive, the challenge of this life is to stay in love."
Unfortunately in so many instances it is easy to fall into fear and make decisions that lead to more things to fear and sadly in many cases death. Congregations that become afraid often become self-absorbed in fear and lose their missional focus and calling to be a blessing in their communities. When nations become afraid they go to war and evoke the very thing that frightens them.
When afraid we may also turn to God and our religion to rescue us from that which frightens us. But that rarely seems to work in any way that is sustainable. Fear controlling religion becomes oppressive and hateful toward those who don't share the same fear based perspective. In its extreme, fear-base religion gives people the moral certainty to annihilate those with whom they disagree.
In the early years of my Christian walk I used my religion in an effort to contain or control my fear. What I discovered is that I can't have less fear or control fear I can only grow in love and that when I am living in love there is no fear. Biblical theophanies begin with the words, "fear not." God was not interested in what I was afraid of. God is interested in what I love and in my living in love.
In the incredible words of a 13 year-old in the midst of a parish wide Appreciative Inquiry summit: "I know my heart is bigger since I have been coming to this church." Likewise, I know that God has liberated my heart to love, to live in love, and to stay in love.
I pray that you and those you love, continue to find each other in love and stay in love.
The Appreciative Way
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