Monday, September 6, 2010

Love Diminished

This may be a bit controversial for some of you, but I want to address something that has crept it's way into mainstream thinking, both inside and outside of the church. Many of you will probably not agree with me. That's fine. It's my tendency to question and analyze any new concepts, catchphrases, and mantras that I encounter, and this is another that I feel many people have grasped a hold of because it sounds good, sounds meaningful, and sounds right, but in reality it only tells a small part of the story, leaving out a TON of the important stuff. The phrase in question?...

"Love is a choice."

I don't deny that a part of loving is a choice, but it must be emphasized that it is indeed only a part of the larger equation. Love, itself, isn't really a choice at all. To ACT upon it, or to ACT in a loving manner even when devoid of emotion and feelings of love, is a choice - not love in and of itself. Love, in and of itself, is only a verb in a portion of it's meaning. TO love is a verb. I'm afraid the phrase "love is a choice" ultimately devalues the emotional aspect and power of love, and I don't believe for a second that this is something God wants. It also makes for the fodder of warfare for authoritarian types. My ex, for instance, was coerced into believing that she'd made a "choice" to love me, a choice which she could "correct".

Genuine love is unconditional, and that's not really a choice at all. I loved my ex (and still do) unconditionally simply because of the passionate, powerful emotional connection that developed. I can genuinely say that I wouldn't have known how to NOT love her. Trust me, at this point I don't want to love her. The unconditional love I feel for her is now a source of immense pain, and has been for over two years. It probably will be, to gradually lesser degrees, for the rest of my life. There was a point, early on, where a threshold drew near, and as my love for her grew, I had to decide if I was willing to ACT upon that love despite the enormous amount of baggage, despite her legalistic and seemingly crazy family, despite the added stress and nonsense all of this brought into my life. I had to decide while the window was still there, because once that threshold had been crossed, my love for her would become such a strong connection and living entity that walking away would be devastating. I knew I could continue to love her, unconditionally, in spite of all the baggage, and I made the choice to continue acting upon that love. The action was the choice...not the love. Even if I had walked away, my heart would've still burned for her.

The emotion and feeling of love is a powerful, powerful force. It shouldn't be diminished. Ever. Love shouldn't be reduced to a formula or a works-based outcome - "Do this, this, and this, and you'll begin to feel love." Action doesn't produce love. Love produces action. In my opinion, too many Christians completely misappropriate 1st Corinthians 13 and turn it into a formula akin to patriarchy and it's seedy offspring like courtship. Let's look at that scripture...

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.

Love doesn't come about as a result of being patient, longsuffering, kind, et cetera. Those things come about, in various shapes, sizes, and intensities, because you love. 1st Corinthians 13 isn't a list of rules. That bears repeating - 1st Corinthians 13 isn't a list of rules. It also isn't a formula, "do these things and love will develop", that solves all ills. 

1st Corinthians 13 is a list of FRUITS.

As such, some things have to be considered. Does every apple tree produce the same number of apples? If Tree A produces one bushel, Tree B produces ten bushels, and Tree C produces one apple - does this mean that any of these trees are more or less an apple tree than any of the others? Absolutely not.

The fact is, few, if any, of us other than Christ have ever demonstrated ALL of those fruits simultaneously even in our most loving and passionate moments. That doesn't in any way suggest a lack of love on our part. It may suggest that we don't always make the best of choices in how to ACT upon our love, but it doesn't render us loveless. But it's SO important to remember that being patient (just as one example) doesn't make you love others. You're patient with others BECAUSE you love. This is a dynamic that gets royally screwed up in fundamentalist quarters, where what you do takes precedence over who you are, where symbolism and appearance is more valuable than substance. In that dynamic, it's more important to appear patient, kind, longsuffering, et cetera, than it is to actually love and feel love.

Love is an emotion first and foremost. I don't love Christ because I walk with Him. I walk with Him because I love Him and that connection to Him burns within my heart. I love my neighbor as myself because the love of Christ burns in my heart. Yes, there are people in my life, in all of our lives, who are hard to love by conventional means, so to those I "choose" to extend the love of Christ which burns in my heart - which is rooted in emotion and feeling.

While 1st Corinthians 13 shows us the fruits of love, for a picture of love as God intends it, take a look at the Song of Solomon. Two hearts aflame, burning with wholesome and pure passion - a snapshot of the relationship Christ desires with the church. Not one of duty and obligation. One of desire.

I pity those in fundamentalist backgrounds who are indoctrinated to believe that their hearts are evil and emotions only deceive, that love is a "choice" carried out through dutiful works. I fear that many young women in fundamentalist families make a "choice" to love a man for whom there's no passion, for whom Song of Solomon doesn't register, all to meet the demands of a formula, hoping, to no avail, that the fruit will produce the tree.

When it's been used as a weapon against you, when you still feel the intense pain of love far beyond the scope of choice, it takes on a larger meaning and it's tough to accept a very partial platitude that's become something of a thought stopper in speaking for the whole of an issue so much more vast than the platitude.

You can't turn it off. You can choose to be loving, to ACT in and on love, but you can't choose love. I wish to God you could.


  1. "...that the fruit will produce the tree."

    Once again, you are reading my thoughts and putting them into words SO much better than I can.

    I remember my father telling us, "You love the one you marry, you don't marry the one you love." That always irritated me. As if marrying the one you loved wasn't right because I didn't have the power, as an adult Christian daughter, to be able to tell the difference. It was so offensive to me to be told something like that.

  2. Song of Solomon 8:7
    Many waters cannot quench love, Nor can the floods drown it. If a man would give for love All the wealth of his house, It would be utterly despised.

    awesome post, but I grieve for the pain behind it.

  3. "who are indoctrinated to believe...emotions only deceive" Yes, that is a very sad and dangerous indoctrination. God gave us emotions, just like he gave us the senses of and awareness of physical pain and pleasure--to guide us, protect us, etc. They are not the only instruments by which we live our lives--they stand with the whole body and mind God made to help us learn and grow. But to lob them off as dangerous is to strip ourselves of a very important, God-given resource. Learning to trust our emotions is as important a growing up task as it is to learn how and when to trust our mind and rational thoughts.

    Have you read the book, The Gift of Fear? It was an important one to me, as I came out of an abusive relationship. I think the basic, underlying concept connects here (though the specifics of the book don't really relate), in that when distrust the Gift of Love, we end up crippling ourselves in some devastating ways. Fear and Love aren't the whole story of "US", but they are an essential part.

  4. oops, I meant to say, "they are essential parts".

  5. You keep bringing things to mind with your posts that I've forgotten. :P I'm remembering now a conversation that went something like this:

    Them: "Love is a choice!"

    Me, grasping for the words:" But,'s not,'s so much more than that!"

    Them: "Not really. You can choose to love or not love"

    Me, exasperated: "I can't choose NOT to love him! I didn't choose TO love him in the first place!"

    Them: "Well, that's emotional attachment, not love."

    Repeat, ad nauseam, and that's what three years of my life were like. :P Except once when I added "So that's why you guys got married at 19 when your parents didn't want you to. Choice, eh??" Which I think got me grounded or something. ;)

    Very good post. I may have to use it often.

  6. Awesome word picture..."hoping, to no avail, that the fruit will produce the tree".

    I love that. As always, well said Lewis.

  7. I liked the part about what you DO v. who you ARE. Is it possible that after many years of doing, doing, doing that it is quite scary to connect with you ARE, that the person who is filled with emotions, passions and feelings has been so confined, that it seems criminal to be in possession of feelings?

  8. hmmmm...

    I get what you are saying. I've definitely been there.

    But I've also been on the other side of the fence where love is no longer an emotion, and can't be quantified emotionally, or described emotionally.

    Does that not make it love if action says it is?

    Losing the ability to feel love is a very sad and difficult thing, but it's also equally real. It doesn't deny the presence of love it only shows that emotion isn't as stable as will followed by choice.

    The loss of my ability to feel love has completely befuddled me, I only keep making choices in line with my original direction. Hoping that an emotional connection returns.

  9. Love grows cold because of Iniquity Sarah...

    iniquity, passed down through generations--learned behaviors such as 'gender constructs, misogyny internalized/submitting to constant rape our of religious coercion/guilt/duty [which is what forced love is--why the disconnect that is the same that prostitutes feel, I write on this a lot because I know it well],

    when they come to Jesus and they say,

    Did WE not do this, this, that, this, and HE says,

    Depart from me I NEVER

    'KNEW YOU',

    TO know SOMEONE is to be intimate [and in Bible that meant sexually, to be naked, meaning, to be exposed at the core, light and dark, good and bad, etc] and with feeling/without,

    in a form of marriage, metaphor but more than metaphor--

    and when I refer to sexually, I am NOT referring to the shallow porn culture Disconnect from spiritual/nature interdependence of all life, matter, atoms, universe that WE have today thanks to religion, materialism, pride.

    There are times like Lewis said that we 'choose' to love, especially those who are not acting loving. However, that has been so used to force/coerce women especially into worshiping other 'gods' and submitting to rapes under a lie of a marriage, which is really

    the Bond Woman, Hagar, it wasn't Hagar that God rejected, it was the forced sex slavery relationship that God rejected--that is yes, the fruit of patriarchy/misogyny and the pyramid. [Egypt, house of bondage], THAT is what God rejected,

    so when we believe we are being 'obedient' in acting in loving ways even when we are self-harming,

    that isn't God, that is really Prostituting and being Prostituted and taking God's ways in vain,

    if Love is cold, there is Always a reason for--something is Wrong,

    and that needs to be explored. And then dealt with, to just carry on PRETENDING is loving with hypocrisy which is a LIE, and it will only produce



  10. Lewis,

    when I read your testimony, especially just now, I get a picture in my head, Jesus saying, that's how I feel when I try to show you [and others] love and the wall I run into due to the hardness/abuse of others.

    Scripture backing of this, in OT, when God says, whoredoms make the heart hard. [Hosea, in other verses to, the ERROR in understanding this,

    is that usually the belief is that it's the whoredoms of actions such as if one is in to all sorts of religions/idols/pleaures, etc. that makes the heart hard, now

    THAT DOES--but that's not the full extent of whoredom--whoredom is also the hardening [what Proverbs means when it talks of the depths of hell in the brothel] of the girls/woman's heart [the sex slave] due to the constant being raped, tortured, and killed in her spirit and soul. Her heart becomes hard because it is dead--soul death, it IS a form of murder, all there is to it, same goes for men who force their wives, it's a form of murder,

    that is what forced love does--the depths of hell is the hardness/evil it Takes in one's heart to do this to another human being. They have no remorse or even conscience because they believe they are superior and that the 'object' which is woman, is non-human with no worth therefore they THINK they have license--

    that is another meaning of whoredom--so there are two things going on here, the soul death of the one being assassinated and the soul death of the one that is doing the assassination out of sheer sadism/control/lust.

    When women have been horribly soul assassinated it is like the whores forehead, it is like trying to connect with one who is Catatonic,

    and this is what Jesus feels, these are the obstacles that are there like a cement wall--that takes a lot of patience, love is patient,

    Lewis you share in Jesus's sufferings because this is exactly how HE feels when working with the broken and disconnected, the halt and the maimed. There is LIFE coming out of you through all this--this post today,

    reading it I could see Jesus standing right there speaking to me...I deal with a lot of disconnect and detachment, but today was the first time I saw the connection with that and with what you wrote,

    you have a very important testimony/message, and no doubt, this hurt experience you went through,

    has a meaning and life, keep sharing, it reminds me of a couple of things Paul said, God is going to use you in a mighty way in these days and is using you, vessels of silver and gold Lewis...hang in there.


  11. AWESOME post!!!

    How many times have I watched well-intentioned mothers make their children memorize the Fruit of the Spirit, or the 1 Corinthians 13 love passage with the intention of helping her kids produce these fruits. Only Christ can do it! And He wants to.

    As Jesus said, "I am the vine, you are the branches. He that abides in me and I in he, the same brings forth much fruit. For without me, you can do NOTHING." (John 15:5)

    Thanks for another boost for Christian REST!


  12. How about this.

    Love is a power.

    Carrying the verses in the Songs further.
    Song 8:6 For love is as strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame.
    (then it goes on with what Hillary quoted... Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it...)

    God's love is so powerful and it cannot be quenched.

    I love what Jane says about the spirit of whoredom making the heart hard. The spirit of harlotry causes the love of many to grow cold.
    Unfortunately, many of us see that the spirit of harlotry is infiltrating the church in the form of pornography, Domestic Discipline, and the attitudes of some preachers and congregations concerning obligatory sex which I can't get into here and now (but it, along with patriarchy and other things, is weakening the entire church and Her witness on this earth.)

  13. I get what you're saying. Now how do we account for the woman who wanted to divorce her husband because she no longer loved him? She was advised to "act" like she loved him for three months. At the end of that time her counselor asked if she was ready for the divorce. "No way! I deeply love him. He's the best man on earth."

    Could it be that it is possible for an emotion to follow an action?

  14. Jane your post reads that if someone stops feeling love they are in sin.

    This is like saying if someone is sick they are in sin.

    I'm not forced to love anyone it's my choice, and I got that part. However, we're talking about the emotion vs the choice. Voluntary vs Involuntary.

  15. "Could it be that it is possible for an emotion to follow an action?"

    ML...I honestly don't believe so, unless some remnant of the emotion is still in place before the action. I can't see going from no love to deeply in love in a three month period, all created through actions, and it being in any way emotionally healthy.

    I can see it awakening emotion that's already there, but not creating it.

  16. Sarah,

    you're misunderstanding me...

    there is difference between Sin and Iniquity. Jesus said, love of many will grow cold DUE to iniquity,

    because of the abuse/ritual abuse [heavily tied into generational occult, tied into a main religion yes, government powers [not kidding here] and masonry/knights and all that--when God began to deliver me of many forces working in my life/and that were having direct impact on who I connected with--this was an area HE showed me,

    through numerous ways, Iniquity is like a family tree OK, WE, are at the top of that tree. If you look at a tree outside, it grows by roots [off shoots] but it also grows upwards, we are in the end of the times of the Gentiles. Iniquity, is the growth of certain sinful traits/behaviors learned and inherited, that we get, and that others get.

    It's also tied into DNA, etc., this is why, Love covers iniquity [King David/Psalms] and why we are to depart overcome, etc.,

    so no, not saying anything of the sort, that if you don't love/feel love it is sin--in fact the rest of what I wrote says the exact opposite,

    but now there IS an iniquity of misogyny, OT, where it says, that men will hate their wives [the generational curse which is generational de-evolution ok, good way to term it] and then the wives/women will turn and hate them then eat their young, in Romans Paul also talks of this,

    when they made God into an image of a corruptible man--then the women turned then the men lusted, etc., this is related to the de-evolving or degeneration of generational FAMILY TREES,

    iniquity, so love grows cold, marriage becomes a slavery institution rather than a relationship formed from a love bond. That is the iniquity working--it is societal, it is family and it is personal,

    we can be drawn to toxic relationships from the lies of iniquity--where religion enforces those with the submit you must love no matter what, submit to rape, etc., the House of Bondage, the Egyptian pyramid/hierarchy, patriarchy, and THAT is what we are seeing Today,

    and we internalize these things and are influenced by them even if we are not directly IN those situations, and it's in the discerning of what and how that works that we become Free from those lies,

    and love freely, rather than by force, because iniquity causes love to grow cold because it forces formulas, which really isn't love,

    its a type of lie.

    Does that make more sense? What is being told to women especially today, is really Iniquity, the bond woman, Hagar, example, that was what I was saying,


  17. Lewis you bring up a really good point, that is also tied into another aspect of how this iniquity is working today,


    How do I put this...ok with this she loved /acted then all these emotions followed, this is something that I think is being pushed a lot in many churches that is so related to how the occultist sorcery works, seriously, in how emotions are manipulated in a way that one Thinks they have love and joy but it's really just a surface 'emotional high' with no substance,

    and a real good way to cover up cognitive dissonance, but now when the fire heats up, the trial so to speak, that emotional 'high' which has no substance will shatter in a second and then what is left is a desolation,

    there Is yes a type of love that is action without the emotion--commitment but THAT needs a FOUNDATION of LOVE with emotion to work--otherwise, like I said in earlier post, it's just prostitution,

    prostitutes are beaten and forced to smile, to say they enjoy the rapes, beatings, tortures, but that in no way means that they love the johns, no matter HOW much they may assimilate into to Survive, they are still just being abused. Same with any in a marriage that are being coerced through emotional manipulation, guilt a big one, FEAR a huge one, into loving against their will, and just like a prostitute they can emotionally feel a 'high' just like actors do, and it's a type of opiate--that is also ONE BIG FAT LIE. The truth of the matter is, it's not love, but Survival, a forced assimilation, identity with the master, that any slave will feel [Stockholm Syndrome but more than that] and an Internalization [that comes through the being told one is inferior, demonized, etc] and in occults how they do this is through Emotionalism/soul splitting,

    kindness then cruelty, kindness then cruelty, both from same source [or various sources, depending on type of abuse] and the thing is, the victim becomes Dependent emotionally upon the messages/outcomes of the abuser/coercion, internalizes and through the emotional highs and lows,

    this is why I do not agree with the emotional 'manipulation' being done through a lot of 'music' ministries in churches--that like in films, plays on manipulating emotions.

    This is also true with the lie that when love is forced with NO foundation, that if one just Obeys, love will follow,

    no, Love won't follow, the emotional Illusion of, will, but it will need a constant opiate/kindness/cruelty split to continue--over time, that kindness disappears and death is the result.

    Not the best words I could have used, due to word limit/context but this is what I see, that is so related to the occult that is yes, iniquity and that is being pushed onto women And men, in today's church teachings.


  18. Some excellent points, Jane...and I couldn't agree more about the manipulative use of "worship" music in some churches, geared to create a fleeting, baseless emotion and create a vulnerability to buy the product being sold.

    From my vast experience in gospel music, I can testify, firsthand, that the fleeting emotional high is seen as a tool to drive the audience to the merchandise table. In fact, most live performances are purposefully geared toward that very thing - driving buyers to the merchandise table - and it's done under the guise of "worship" and "ministry".

    I agree that it's a form of prostitution, pimping the love of Christ to sell more units.

  19. Sorry, people...Didn't mean to sidetrack the conversation. The music thing just struck a chord (and it does relate to this to an extent), but it's a whole other post at some point.

  20. Glad you mentioned it though Lewis, the things written here, though my getting out of the spiritual abuse was not so much from fundamentalist religion [though it was part of] but other dark forces,

    what really gets me is just how close they are, the similarities are mind blowing actually so they Confirm to me what God is showing me about a lot of things--it's like a different but in so many ways similar Means to the same End,

    the spiritual warfare/dark powers over Both.

    What many think is just warped fundie teaching, I see very strongly, a very dark sorcery being used, through clever manipulations of false signs and wonders, twisting scripture and profit ministries, music being of them--

    what I see as more dangerous though is how much I see this not just in fundamentalism but in a lot of the mainstream--at first I thought it was just me,

    not anymore. Way too many confirmations, way too many, and way, way too many similarities--and the biggest is how Women are being targeted, but it Won't stop there,

    guarantee you, children will be next--in fact they already are, and This is where it is really sinister and where there is a lot of discernment and eye opening needed--where the Fear of reason,

    so needs to be confronted, because the utility of guilt over reason/not being able to question under the guise of emotional blackmail, is I think,

    the most dangerous occult type of abuse that is not just crept IN the churches but has been there for many years and WE are seeing the fruits of, who Knows just how deep this goes.

    why these blogs are so important--at least in my strong opinion.


  21. Whatever you'd like to call it you are totally side stepping the issue of finicky emotions, and using terminology not commonly understood by the reader.

    I think my question is best answered by neuro science more than anything else.

  22. I don't see how it's possible to go from crazy-in-love to no spark of emotion at all, to crazy-in-love again. I CAN see how it's possible to go from crazy-in-love to hurt, brokenhearted, bitter and putting up walls, to shutting out the one you used to love, the one who caused your pain, to healing and crazy-in-love again. Doesn't mean the emotions were "all gone" then suddenly reappeared when you worked on love. They were just hidden behind a self-protective wall, bitterness, disappointment, and pain. Once the process of healing begins (which is the only way you could even WANT to show love toward someone who has hurt you) the feeling of love will begin to grow again. I've seen this over and over again. So I get what Lewis is saying.

  23. Sarah...I agree that emotions can be finicky. Even genuine love. It's why I believe we should measure and examine our emotions. Love isn't always red hot. It isn't always passionate. Even when we were together, my love for my ex, while always in place, was hotter and more passionate on some days than others (and for the sake of my readers, I'm speaking in emotional terms, not sexual terms). It's also safe to say that it isn't at it's more heated levels currently, given the history - but it's still there for all my wishing it weren't, and some remnant of it will most likely always remain.

    The larger issue for me, like I said to ML, is that I don't believe that emotionally healthy love can be generated through works any more than I believe grace can be generated through works. If no trace of the emotion is there, I genuinely don't believe any action can generate it - at least not in a healthy form.

    One of the most hurtful things said to me, just days after my ex disappeared, was said to me by her slithery, slimy grandfather upon me telling him that I loved her immensely and wanted my future to be with her..."Well you're just gonna have to ask God to take that out of your heart!!!"

    What a snake. What an ignorant snake. Asking God to take something out that He alone could put in and had put in, and all to soothe his, his son's, and some other patriarchal wackos' interests.

    Sorry about that...but that pretty much sums up my opinion of these people. Just having one of those "Walkin' Tall" moments.

  24. This is a great post. And what Darcy said just above is so true too.

    I was just having this conversation with my husband the other day. Maybe he should read this because I think he would agree, sometimes we just don't stop and actually listen to each other. :)

    Soooo... I'm guessing you're against arranged marriages. ;)

  25. ML...Another thought I wanted to add in an attempt to answer your question...(and please keep in mind that this is merely my opinion from my own experience and journey)...

    "Now how do we account for the woman who wanted to divorce her husband because she no longer loved him? She was advised to "act" like she loved him for three months. At the end of that time her counselor asked if she was ready for the divorce. "No way! I deeply love him. He's the best man on earth."

    Could it be that it is possible for an emotion to follow an action?"

    I believe the women described in this scenario has actually become somewhat co-dependent, victim of a performance-based love...and I'd have to seriously wonder - if she ceased to continue acting in the manner that brought her to this conclusion, would the love remain? I just don't believe the smart money would bet on there being any lasting emotion beyond the illusion and possible co-dependency the works produce.

  26. "Soooo... I'm guessing you're against arranged marriages. ;)"

    lol...Me? Noooooo way! Love em ;)

  27. Darcy, in 99% of cases I think you are right. But I think its possible for a person to become so hardened in their bitter state that the no longer love at all.

    Lewis. Its an interesting thought. These are my questions:

    Did God choose to love us? If you say he is love, and he had to love us, then why is not everyone going to heaven. You might say, "because some do not choose to love God," but then if that's true, your thesis that we have to love because God loves crumbles. So I'm curious what you have to say.

    This is where the calvinists come in strong.

  28. Marlana...I believe God loves us because it's His nature, but I also believe His love is demonstrated to us by choice, His own and that of Christ to go to the cross.

    I can't speak for the others here, but for me, I didn't choose to love the Lord, but rather, I came to love Him, and because of that love, I choose to live for Him according to that love. I think some never come to love God, or resist the compulsion to do so as He woos them, as with the Israelites..."they have rejected Me."

    "You might say, "because some do not choose to love God," but then if that's true, your thesis that we have to love because God loves crumbles."

    I'm not entirely sure what you're saying here, so I don't want to answer a question that you may not actually be asking or misrepresent your words. If you wouldn't mind, could you expound on this or rephrase it? Dense southern hillbilly here;)

  29. @Lewis. You actually answered my question (I was brainstorming questions), and my best answer right now lines up with you.

    Right now my mind is having trouble seeing the possibility that love is not a choice because as you said, at least someone chooses.

    Its either: we choose to respond to God's love.
    or: God chooses to love us.
    Or: Both

    But somebody chooses.

    My follow up question is: if we love as God loves (and God chooses), then isn’t our love a choice as well? You somewhat answered this already as your point is that the love of Jesus is so strong that we have to love other people. I think I agree, but I am not entirely satisfied either as there are people who have received God spiritually but never emotionally been transformed. Christ can meet the head, but not penetrate healing in the heart. Plus, you know, how does that explain why unbelievers must love? How does an unbeliever fall in love? Someone has to be the first person to love, but how can someone be the first person to love if love requires an initiator?

    I know I'm way over analyzing this. Lol.

  30. Maybe the issue [and I strongly disagree with the elitist pyramid of Calvin--aka middle age Pharaoh despot, the Father of all despot revolutions and Vanguards, Stalin would have loved him, I can smell the gulags from here] Ah but anyway, sorry for that tangent,

    maybe the issue here, is How do we define love?

    Sarah you brought up something that I would like to expand on--now I'm going to be the pessimist Inquisition advocate here, deconstructing what I strongly believe to be the 'manipulation' especially of women, the 'clay pots of seed' for the Kings and Queens of this little spiritual warfare, other dimension, gods, so forth, of either using FEAR to control us dumb humans or Eros, the romance, love lie to control us dumb humans.

    [yea when I get in these deconstruct Illuminati lies I really tear it up--remember my life was controlled and there was gov tied into it somehow, masons, etc]

    So, Sarah you bring up neuro-science, ah yes, the origins which WERE sacrifices, done in ancient Egypt, Sumeria, Mayan, for the 'gods' and of course, what better subjects that poor undesirables, women and children [they have better adrenaline when tortured], ask the Nazis [and yes that whole ideology is connected, do some study on Hitler and the Occult],

    Anyway, the study of the brain, brain waves, electronics, how to Control people through the use of metals [heard of metal detox, look into] and sound/images [music, the idiot box of t.v., and of course, the web, all kinds of nice little psyops] and how to do that,

    well we know by marketers emotions and playing ON those emotions, feeding into either real needs or Supposed needs, one can control huge masses of people.

    Romance comes from Roman--put enough emotional controls out there through methods of neuro science which let's remember, were in place in the origins, in times that WE KNOW by archeology and study of ancient languages that They had advancements that in no way can be explained just by using religion--in other words, they give Merit to the whole alien theory--seriously [and much in OT does back this up] that we may have well been created to be Slaves for either aliens or gods or what have you [remember, I'm being a pessimist here today, deconstructing]

    so, what better way to lure us dumb women to keep having babies and marrying to feed the mass labor pool for gold, minerals, etc. than to use either FEAR of hell or if that don't work,

    in spite of all the abuse, rapes, lack of human rights, we can now use a thing called Emotional manipulation--a.k.a. EROS,

    romance, love. Through out history the gods learned that eros worked, because eros is pleasure [see also ancient Egypt] and it causes confusion, this is where you get the Highs and the Lows, because it is not a love based on comradeship or friendship or family bonds

    but on sexual heights and ego--which IS now if you look at neuro-science, connected to the nerve centers of the spine/brain and what a Way to control the dumb human slave masses. And don't think this isn't the case--

  31. con't...Look at political candidates, how many dumb people vote out of their 'feelings' rather than true political knowledge? Yea, I'd say about 70 percent. So,

    here we have this discourse over love and forced actions and so forth--we haven't brought into the equation of 'infatuation', or neurological influences/coercion and one of those, btw, is economical--food, we are animals, that need to eat, sleep, have shelter, etc., don't have those things we get very nasty--women Especially are controlled [whether they realize it or not] by this because under patriarchy women are dependent upon the male dominated machinery there--even if not married, sociology proves a woman's status goes up if married, educated or not.

    Keeps the labor pool going--if you wanted to look at this globe as one big chess game for the gods/kings and queens, we the pawns, women the disposable pawns--only for reproduction

    yea know this sounds cruel and cold BUT this is actually how a lot is done through policies that yes do control resources and infrastructure. Take it spiritually, from a Pragmatic Questioning rather than an Emotional EROS and take it apart,

    uh, it brings up for some darn needed analysis.

  32. con't [hopefully last section/word count]

    So really, question is, DO we really know what love is, or have we been manipulated into buying into a human need driven love [biology] that isn't really love at all, but survival of the species, etc., and the reality of this doesn't add up to the 'manipulations' done by either religion or commercialism, etc.?

    You could Really deconstruct this in a way where you see flat out, that IF you take it literally, then women weren't even a part of the equation [Biblical] except as baby chattel--which gives more strength to the deconstruction analysis,

    now many here will say this is bitter or this is cold, NO, remember, WE live in a nation of privilege, if WE lived in let's say, Afghanistan or Columbia [both horribly controlled by Calvinist/Catholic type of despotic regimes/theocracies] then WE would have no problem deconstructing--the EROS from the Pragmatism--that our perception of love,

    is nothing more than having been manipulated by the clever use of neuro sciences to begin a much higher species.

    rational sucks sometimes don't it? so what IS real love? Can't use the Bible, God commits mass genocide/sanctions sex slavery/rape and then whoosh, turns around and saves MEN--well women get a 'side car' until Revelations then its just Sons of God--

    so--now we see some real cognitive dissonance--love, agape we KNOW by fruits of church is bunk--love EROS today is porn/rape/sex slavery [always was] and well,

    kind of puts things in a whole different light--does that mean we reject love-God? NO, but what it does mean,

    that maybe we dumb humans just aint' buying and drinking the neuro science kool aid anymore,


  33. Marlana...I don't think you're over-analyzing at all. I think it's great when people are willing to think through issues, and do so at deep levels.

    My best answer would be: There's the noun form of love (emotion/feeling) and the verb form of love (the action of love). I think our only true choice is in the verb form. I don't know that we really have any control over the noun form when it begins to happen beyond something like, "I could be very deeply attracted to this person. I need to avoid him/her before it develops." I guess we can resist or nurture, to whatever extent, the noun form, but I don't think we can choose it. We CAN, however, choose to act upon it.

  34. Ah, what a touchy subject. But I enjoyed reading this post and the comments. Just to add my own two cents:

    Once upon a time, I thought romantic love was just a choice, and I turned up my nose at all the (stupid) girls who fancied themselves helplessly in love with the "wrong" person when they could've avoided it. Then to my shock, I fell in love - fell off the Empire State Building on to a bed of sharp rocks - with someone who was so far from my "ideal" that organ donation would definitely be out of the question. But oh, I was very much in love (not by choice) and actively did things to encourage my love to grow (by choice, obviously). Now I'm ashamed to think of how I misjudged others.

    The same people who insist that a woman's love for a man is only a choice insist that a mother's love for her child is innate. Come on! The same hormones are at work! Just acknowledge the truth: Many people (men) like to discount legitimate feelings and prefer to praise rational thought instead. But the real world doesn't work that way.

  35. Jenny,

    ok, now going back to what I wrote earlier let me ask you this,

    because I think this is probably a better way for me to term it [this is something I've been questioning a lot, mind controls/influence, etc on a social scale],

    how much, did your falling in love, do you think, if you look back and reflect, had to do, with influences on what you liked in a person, from let's say,

    social constructs, media images, ideals of romance, etc?

    Now this is something you really have to think on for a while, maybe it's an age thing, but I know now, what I felt in my twenties and thirties was highly influenced by Idealism, that was heavily influenced by romanticism, that I had learned by constructs, religion, media and images. I wouldn't have thought so then,

    but I can see it now. So I don't think it's just hormones, but now it might be 'clouded' by hormones, but I guess my point is, like Sarah brought up with the neuro science, I think, women especially,

    are geared by constructs that we are not even aware of in our subconscious due to neuro training through manipulations,

    that we have even as girls, eg. the Cinderella complex, etc. And that those have a strong impact on HOW we fall in infatuation.

    Where as, in the lets say, 1800s, when life was more harsh and marriage was about survival, those idealisms weren't as much of an influence,

    as they are today.


  36. Jane: Oh, I don't mean to imply that everything's feelings with no reasoning involved. As I hinted about my own experience, there's both feelings and choice involved, and that'll play out differently for different people. And yes, certainly environment plays a strong role.

    The strange thing about my first love is that all my ideals flew out the window. I'm not sure what caused any of it. By any measure, he wasn't a good person to fall for.

    What you're describing is more like my second love: I fell for the guy and could blame it on feelings. However, there was a strong connection to what I was looking for in a spouse (ideals, goals, etc.), what my upbringing taught me to value (church, homeschool culture, etc.), and what I was exposed to by other influences (romance novels, etc.). Clouded hormones is a good way to describe it. :D

    I guess I did the idealism thing in my teens and early 20s and the romanticism thing in my mid and late 20s. Right now, I'd advocate a mix.

    It's interesting how potentially (rationally?) good matches have often not looked appealing because there was a missing emotional connection, physical attraction, "chemistry," or whatever. And then there are the "love matches" that won't go anywhere because the parties in question have economic reasons for marriage.

    Not sure if I entirely answered your question...

  37. Lewis. Okay, I will give you that love is both a noun and verb as Jesus Christ is both love in his very being and demonstrates love.

    Falling in love is natural, but emptying ourselves as Jesus did is a choice.

    Most people cannot give love because in order to give, one must be filled. This is why love begins by first clinging to Jesus Christ above all else, to allow Christ to not only impact our spirits but our minds and emotions as well. A person filled spiritually but drained emotionally cannot lay down themselves sacrificially.

  38. A person filled spiritually but drained emotionally cannot lay down themselves sacrificially. Very insightful, Marlana.

  39. Love is a spiritual fruit of being in Christ, that much is plain. Not only scripture but reality bears that out.

    But love also exists in the hearts of other people. And love, as the Greeks knew, has many facets or many names. =)

    In my personal experience, there is more than one facet to falling in love. "Chemistry" is one- a biological compelling to another person. Scientists have studied this in various ways and with various results. Pheromones and facial symmetry are two aspects of physical attraction that have been studied. Whatever it is, chemistry is real. You either have it with someone or you don't.

    That "it" factor is different for everyone and really can't be defined. I can be not attracted to my husband at all from five feet away, even angry/repulsed, but when I get close enough to kiss that man- ahhhh. I melt. Something about his smell or maybe the taste of his mouth- it's the "it" factor. It's there.

    Then we are attracted because of our psychological compulsions. If the "it" factor is nature, the psychological factor is nurture. In one unfortunate example, daughters of narcissistic mothers tend to be attracted to partners who repeat the pattern of emotional unavailability. It "feels" like love on a sub-conscious level.

    Third there is our logical brain, by which we can decide that even though we are really attracted to someone, they are not good for us.

    Unfortunately it does not really work the other way. You cannot decide to be physically attracted to someone. You can choose to marry someone that you are not attracted to, and even have a romantic physical relationship with them. But it will not create the "it" factor between you.

    Finally I must disagree with your conclusion above, which seems to imply that only Christians experience love. Au contraire, love is found in couples of all faiths and no faith. Would that it were so, but Christian marriages are even slightly more likely to fail than the national average.

    I believe Christian marriages are more likely to fail because of the teachings of male privilege/female subordination that destroys the intimacy between a couple. But perhaps marriage without attraction might account for some of it as well.

    If anyone reading here does not know at least one non-Christian couple whose marriage is stable, even thriving, you need to widen your circle of friends. If the church really has cornered the market on love, the whole world would be Christian! Alas, it is not so. That doctrine- that only Christians love truly- belies reality and has kept many a loving agnostic from embracing such an arrogant belief system.

    Jesus IS love. The Holy Spirit does she abroad in our heart the love of God. But man, created in the image of God, still has the echo of Divine Love in their own hearts. To refute this is to refute reality.

  40. Oh, I really like Mara's thought that love is a power. That paints a more accurate picture of love than any I've ever come across!
    Great post, Lewis - you hit the nail on the head again!

  41. Shadowspring,

    Your point about female subordination supports what I am saying. Those patriarchal families have not placed God at the center of their home; they have placed husband/father at the center. This is not loving God most and letting him fill all areas of our lives. The father taking instead of giving to the family will yield only brokenness.

    When works based performance becomes the center of the home, this is also not putting God first. For example, a mother pushes her kid to make her look good, whether good character (the homeschool home) or the most popular, the best looking, the A student. Who is her idol? Who is she getting filled by here?

    I agree that unbelievers can have love. As an example, a guy comes up to a girl and loves her unconditionally; this love allows her to have more to give to her children. But until she puts Christ in the center, there will always be a misplaced idol in her life. Is this the kind of love I would seek in my marriage?

    Finally, I was once empty. I felt shame and guilt. I always loved people; I always gave to people; and I always cared for people. But when I gave God my shame and allowed him to come into me, my entire being was filled with a love to give in a way I had never experienced before.

    I firmly believe that unbelievers can love (and more than these broken Christian homes or Christian churches as the case may be), but I am speaking of a love that transforms the entire His love overflows from our hearts, our vulnerable hearts, not our "spiritually-together heart."

  42. I should add that I am borrowing the word making God the "center" from someone else. The words I was using was getting filled by God. Use which ever language works best for you.

  43. Unfortunately it does not really work the other way. You cannot decide to be physically attracted to someone. You can choose to marry someone that you are not attracted to, and even have a romantic physical relationship with them. But it will not create the "it" factor between you.

    Finally I must disagree with your conclusion above, which seems to imply that only Christians experience love. Au contraire, love is found in couples of all faiths and no faith. Would that it were so, but Christian marriages are even slightly more likely to fail than the national average.

    I believe Christian marriages are more likely to fail because of the teachings of male privilege/female subordination that destroys the intimacy between a couple. But perhaps marriage without attraction might account for some of it as well.


    LOL, ain't that the truth,

    I asked Jesus about this last night--one of our many talks...because I know what it is to be married out of force [economics/poverty] and not be attracted and try to love an abusive ass who is just ugly inside and out [and chooses it that way, a real misogynist who is also malicious narcissist] but Anyhoo...the patterns from the lies of religious kaka patriarchy had so much to do with why I for years killed my own soul thinking that was what I was supposed to do [and why I no longer will identify myself as a 'Christian' so to speak, because of it being so Toxic and death cult to women] and how all that indoctrination didn't give life and the fruits well, let's just say digging up and burning them and Starting OVER,

    but OK sorry off on ribbon there, LOL, for some reason the scripture in OT came to me about the jealous husband who has the woman drink the bitter potion and if she is faithful she'll have a child and if not her stomach/thigh will rot.

    And I said to Jesus you know that's just some evil crap there--those women were forced to marry against their will and so you punish the women, and He said, you don't get the symbolic meaning to that--a woman who is forced to sleep/serve and be intimate with a man against her will Will want her true love, and she will be Bitter, her stomach and thigh will rot because over the years it will cause DEATH in her,

    the meaning that if the woman is unfaithful and the man is jealous, etc., is that it is a Bitter thing for a woman to be in a marriage that is forced/against her will, that no matter what the man may do, violence, force, abuse, she will Never love him because LOVE CAN NOT BE FORCED,

    it is a sad and bitter thing. The stomach/thigh rot was the outward manifestation of such--not just a punishment but the outward manifestation, of just how miserable that type of marriage/sex slavery IS to a woman,

    and in that day and age marriage WAS bitter to many women, in our world today it still IS, and if marriage was Such a Great institution,

    then why isn't it in Heaven?

    But see this was the choice, the one of the deadly effects of that tree, of knowing, good and evil--this is not to say that God cannot restore or give beauty and hope in the midst of bitterness, because HE can, I know HE can,

    we CAN rise above it--through the Spirit,

    but we cannot erase or diminish the TRUTH that forced love, rape which is what submitting to abuse or a no love marriage is, out of 'obedience' or some warped twisting of death cult doctrines,

    Does produce, a stomach and thigh rot--and ONLY when we see that,

    can we then, work to be Free from that. Free through the Healing that only comes in Truth, Jesus Christ.



  44. On another aspect of love, God's love,

    yes Jesus emptied Himself and gave...but here's what I see a lot that is really unbalanced,

    and I think a very deadly snake oil that is especially pushed onto women in horrible situations in not just fundie but mainstream churches and it's this ideal that to Love means to empty oneself out, get the emotional and Only filling from God and well, be a martyr.

    And it leaves one who embraces this to a life of constant self-abnegation and desolation/death--

    God had and has Conditions, so did Jesus, while Jesus yes emptied Himself out--HE also was RESURRECTED, we Forget that part, the 'death cult' LOVES to focus on the whole cross/death sacrifice thing,

    but God wants LIVING SACRIFICES, not DEAD ONES, God is the God of the LIVING, not the God of the DEAD,

    to walk in love we also need to Follow Love, that means, to follow where Love is, we cannot just empty ourselves [esp in horrid situations] that are Intimate as some kind of sacrificial 'sacrifice' and depend on imagination/doctrinal words and Expect to remain ALIVE,

    because it don't work. Jesus also spent time Around those who DID love, this is why Paul says numerous times, Love one Another, real Physical Giving Love, not just cheap lip speak that is so common in the churches today--a huge sign of the Failure is the lack of Suffering with those who Suffer,

    what we find today is words thrown around, oh yea God bless bye bye, but no coming to the door, in midnight, and the friend gives the food because of the time of night [another parable Jesus used] which could mean, one just taking the time to sit, listen and hug and cry with--people don't Do that anymore, they are too wrapped up in their word doctrines and the worst, THEOLOGY, which is nothing more than the cafe snobbery of Philosophy today,

    ah but to Follow Love? For me it was going to those who are kind, like this elderly woman I befriended, who isn't 'religious' and who lived a very tough life, single mother/farmer of six children back in the day--and learning to surround myself with people like her--giving of myself yet also seeing that THAT IS WHERE LOVE REALLY IS,

    the constant laying oneself down and relying just on doctrine eventually will run dry--it's not REAL, not TANGIBLE, Jesus is in the Tangible--and doesn't have to be people only either, He can love us through nature, through gardening, through caring for animals...

    the thing about doctrines that annoy me so much is that they are SO LIMITING, not only that they produce a lot of condemnation and death. We can't lay ourselves down only relying on doctrines,

    nor just some mental assent because 'so and so Said so',

    Until it becomes REAL to us on a Consistent basis, not 'emotionalism' we will not get it--the Trap of patriarchy under a NUCLEAR AND I WILL INCLUDE CAPITALIST MAMMON DRIVEN is that it like the FASCISM that it is, isolates women into little beige cubicles of death--

    and men too for that fact, and it is a totalitarianism, and like totalitarianism under fascism one survives [or thinks they do] under the constant feeding on 'ideology' or 'doctrine', letters of stone/lithium = stone--until they become the lifeless beings that THEN can be utilized as the perfect citizen or soldier or thorn,


  45. Jesus was WITH people, as well as WITH nature, those little things that are skimmed over in scripture have Powerful meaning, we don't SEE those today because we are a society disconnected from the natural world [natural as in nature, not nature as in carnal--deemed by the ones who impure think EVERYTHING is impure, taste not, touch not, etc] and a society that is Disconnected from real relationships--our cubicle beige world, of perfect isolationism under the ideology of totalitarianism, andro-centric nuclear

    there is NO life in that, with NO life one cannot lay down a life and ever expect to


    With Love there is always this constant focus on the dying and emptying and sacrifice, a very UNHEALTHY focus, that is distorted and that has caused so much grief and death and harm...

    but Jesus didn't just empty Himself and Die then lie there--oh no,

    He resurrected, New Life, as KING OF ALL KINGS...

    there are Way too many women today that are Dying and are dying sacrifices, bots and cogs and the perfect 'Christian citizen', Hitler would be jealous...

    but that isn't Life--that is a LIE.

    and one that seriously needs to be exposed and dealt with.


    Jane [end of my replies today--sorry my replies are a bit long]

  46. ah, why's to LIFE, true Love, the true Love Giver--sending love your way today,

    two songs, yes they could be deemed by some pagan because she is from Iceland and so forth--but I know WHO is the Giver of All Good Gifts so--they don't bother me, HE is my Ishi, my Heavenly Father, my Heavenly Mother, my Source, in Heaven as well as the Earth, whom yes I call Mother Earth [HE refers to her as 'she' All the time in scripture and in Rev says, HE will destroy All those who destroy her, the earth],

    in Hosea, HE gives the corn, the wine, in Elijah the water it's just All over the Bible, a child's heart SEE's it,

    LIFE, I didn't get it until I finally was healed enough to DUMP the doctrines, what LIFE really was, HIS LIFE,

    so I hear the bells and Who is it that Gives you back your crown?

    [see the Crowns in Scripture, I used to wear a crown of bitter thorns, negativity in mind bogged with tons of Doctrine, HE set me free and now I wear a crown of flowers, hundreds of universes just on our planet alone that He has shown me, take a ground view one day just in a squash patch and see the magic of HIS creation yourself, [squash/book of Jonah], and well just a world of amazing things, a New World which is really what it is, Heaven, the Kingdom of God and Heaven can be inside us--if we just let Him in,

    sharing with you today--from what the perfect Love, the true Ishi, Husband, gives and no matter how dark, they [enemy, Ephesians, helmet of Salvation, etc] can Never take, that away from me...

    or from YOU.



  47. @ Anonymous who wrote:

    quote:I get what you're saying. Now how do we account for the woman who wanted to divorce her husband because she no longer loved him? She was advised to "act" like she loved him for three months. At the end of that time her counselor asked if she was ready for the divorce. "No way! I deeply love him. He's the best man on earth."

    Could it be that it is possible for an emotion to follow an action?
    ML :unquote

    Does this person exist IRL? Or is it a story you heard in a sermon? Just curious.

  48. Jane I couldn't read your comments to me they are waaaaay too long and wordy to follow.

    I am not speaking theoretically I am speaking from experience, both in my relationship with my husband and with others.

    Thanks for your thoughts Lewis, I've walked through something similar but made different choices than your ex. I understand where you are coming from on this.

  49. Great post. I agree on the phrase "Love is a choice." I used to believe it was true, but once I started to experience love I quickly realized those words are basically bunk. No offense.

    I have a different understanding of that verse in the Bible which says that the "heart is deceitful." I think that it means it's easy for us to justify the things we do wrong to ourselves. I think it means that the easiest person to lie to is yourself. And a large part of fundamentalism is lying to oneself.

  50. well Sarah I replied referring to what you stated to expand upon from my lens,

    if it's too wordy for you or anyone, well I don't do sound bytes nor do I police myself, it may not be the submit to grammar fascism or black boot patriarchy, for man OR woman,

    but oh well--it's my voice

    and I will not silence it.

    hope the videos and some of what I wrote edified

    Someone out there, as that was what they were Intended to do.



  51. on another note,

    love, opposite of 'negativity',

    can't agree do disagree or be open to 'other' lens,


    attack the Messenger.

    fascism comes in all various kinds, all in all, it's still HATE,

    and one I learned, NOT to be 'controlled by', so I encourage those who deal with that sort of thing,

    Own your voice, sisters, you have a Right to not 'think or bow to group think' or speak what others Demand you, or Write what other's Demand you,

    the attack the messenger or way they talk or way they write, is nothing more than attempting to silence dissent and what They may not concur with,

    it's one of the Strongest policing of Women's voice especially of class/race that many still internalize Today,

    that is the Epitome of the transference of MISOGYNY.

    Women can be misogynists too as well as patriarchal, religious or secular--

    when we become conscious of this we become free to own our voice/thoughts and free to grow, even BE WRONG and LEARN, life knowledge isn't in a BOX nor is it the RIGHT OF ONLY 'SOME PEOPLE' who claim to have all rights to Decide who can have knowledge or who cannot have,

    that includes the grammatical, word Nazi's and other 'learnings' of the patriarchal society' in which we Women have been long trained by,

    we Grow by expanding our lens, not by Narrowing them.



  52. Sarah,

    this is for you, peace your way...a language universal,

  53. An observation I'd like to make...and this one isn't for my friends who are emotionally depleted (because I do realize that a person can be emotionally bludgeoned to the point that it's difficult to feel anything at all sometimes). This is one for the rest of you to consider...

    If you believe that love is a choice, particularly those of you who've been hurt deeply or are currently hurting deeply by those you love...

    Choose to NOT love, and see if the pain goes away. If love is a choice, the pain of love has to be, too.

  54. It is said that two people in a very crowded room will find each other if they are a co-dependent/dysfunctional match and will fall in love or be attracted in a way that they would describe as love. What are the thoughts out there on this?

  55. You make a good argument, one that I hadn't thought of before. I do, however, still believe it's important to recognize that choice *is* a *very*important* part of love. Despite the truth of your words, it's much *more* common in this day and age to find love defined as an emotion, which comes and goes, a la "I no longer love you," meaning, "I no longer feel warm fuzzies toward you, so I no longer choose to put in the effort." I believe that the choice to love leads to the feelings of love, and vice versa--that they feed each other.

    I ache for your pain, going through this. A favorite uncle of mine got divorced when I was in college. He shared once how horrible it was to see himself becoming part of the statistics he hated. But in the long term, he realized that no matter how devoted *he* was, a marriage wasn't real unless his ex-wife felt the same way...which she didn't. That was the beginning of his healing process. That may be small or no comfort, but I offer it FWIW.

  56. Lewis: what a fantastic, insightful post---but one earned through the pain and suffering of fundamentalism. One of my favorite lines came in one of your comments: "Pimping the love of Christ to sell more units." Stunning and so, so tragically true. I feel for your pain. Thank you for writing here.