Who Needs Revolutionary Love? (Introduction)

Posted: October 22, 2022 by Ty in Belonging Pyramid, My Neighbour, Spirituality
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Long or even new readers will realize the concept of the transfiguring power of love for self and community is a bit of a theme of my writings. Whether the Belonging Pyramid (latest- Soul Risk to be released soon, watch this space for where to buy) to my rebooting of My Neighbour to even my pulp super hero writings that explore beloninging inside to name but a few. These under currents come from a moment in the book one of my life trilogy, a simple few refrains from Jesus, in a broken spined Gideon’s New Testament found while cleaning my room, that led me to start attending church formal:

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

-Matthew 22:36-40 (New International Version)

It was revolutionary, for the simple fact, Jesus did not define neighbour by being those we liked, but by being everyone that is created in the Imageo Dei (Image of God). These thoughts strated connecting as I read through the introduction of Valarie Kaur’s (2021) See No Stranger: A Memoir and Manifesto of Revolutionary Love (Valarie Kaur Breathe and Push) for it is speaking to the transformative power of love for our communities. I encourage reader’s to dive into their own reading, listen to the video clip from a New Year’s Eve talk, see the way interreligious work and dialogue can heal our world. The first step though is move from a selfish focus, to the other focus that revolutionary (Great Commandment) love brings.

Now we can easily slip into sentimentality of the word love, because that is the most familiar within the English language, but this is not about romance, this is the love that does that hard lifting, that risks grieving, loss, joy and hope. The love that allos us to healthily feel our spectrum of emotions:

It is also the love that does not give a pass to hatred, bigorty, prejudice, conspiracy theory, lies or doing harm in the name of b.s. (belief systems whether political, economic, family, or religious to name but a few). It is the love that so shook the ancient world of Brother Jesus, that the powerful b.s of the time could only execute him to attempt to silence the outward flow. This is the love that Kaur speaks and writes of.

It can be so easy to lose oneself in othering the story as well (the idea of defining our own communities simply by saying well at least we are not like them…y’know how Canadians mostly define our national identity by saying at least we are not American). By doing that though on thsi journey of reading, you will miss the power of these words.

Taking this work as a lens into your own commuity and self, is where the manifesto begins to work, yes Kaur is writing from a Sikh lens, but this type of revolutionary love, is found rooted in many systems of transformation and transfiguration.

As an Albertan, enter into reading the work, look at the current stare of our province. The darkness seeping into our communities. The polarizations. The hatred. It was less than a generation ago you could drive our province and see “proud KKK country” (also less than a generation since they lost their charitable status by a bookkeeping error). In my lifetime, I remember shopping for comics, toys and hockey cards at the local flea market and seeing the pins decrying “No turbans (more explicit racist term) in my RCMP”. This centurty when Sudanese refugees faced hate filled backlash in Brooks. When our “saint” Ralph as Preemier mused using the not withstanding clause to disallow marriage equality. 1996 (my graduation year) when the last Residential School closed (so many young souls with Creator)… The past 3 years where Swastika’s and other white supremacist slogans and images were in our streets. When actual religious clerics (Christian and others, but I can only speak into my own context) pushed eugenics, so they could gather. My own lifetime when the last person with a disability was forcefully sterilized in Alberta. My year seeing loneliness and poverty driving MAiD in our province.

It can be simple, even easier to not look into our own pond, for what may be seen. But if we only look into others, to make ourselves feel better, we are deflecting, projecting or living in dissonance not actually living into, through and out of revolutionary love.

These were thoughts that connected from the first few pages, this is a 6 week book exploration at my church, I will be sharing throughs as we go along, but dear reader, I encourage you picking up this book however you engage with story and begin to explore what this can look like in yourself and community.

Valarie Kaur’s Ted Talk


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