Love Me, Damn it…

Last weekend our community hosted a two day music festival.  Over one thousand people came and enjoyed the music and festivities.  This was a beautiful event.  Folks of many stripes sat beside each other and shared a moment in time where only for a brief few minutes all present were one.  From Mennonites to old hippies to business leaders, a delightful hodgepodge of humanity covered the lawn for this colorful shared experience.

A brief walk around the grounds gave pause to the terrific energy emanating from the collected masses.  Harmony was the music being played and shared by all present.  Traffic slowed as it passed allowing travelers the opportunity take in the spectacle and enjoy the break as life took these passers bye elsewhere.

But a small and overly vocal ensemble arrived mid-way through the festival.  These determined souls were a group of the righteous wing of God’s army of anger and justice.  They had a message to share about God’s love for all to hear.  “There are no parties in Hell, Just Bar-B-Ques” said the signs being carried which informed the unsuspecting observers.

My first thought was…I like Bar-B-Ques; especially ones where there are many people enjoying themselves, that in itself would be a party to me.  But a deeper thought began bouncing around in my ever active thought process.   According to these people, these purveyors of love and old fashioned justice, I either have to love God or go to hell, these are my only choices?  I’m not so sure about hell but to the evangelist’s minds, Hell was certainly something to be avoided.  Me, I’m not so sure.  I think being in the company of these people for any period of time would be Hell; I’d want to avoid that Hell for sure.

I just don’t buy the logic.  In actuality, I’m a seller.

How is this different than the woman who is told that if she ever stops loving her husband/boyfriend or leaves him, he will kill her?  Love me or else.  Love is never meant to be the lesser of two evils; love is to be the supreme choice.  We love because we are drawn towards the warmth, embrace because of the dynamic connection involved which makes us better, desire because of the freedom love allows us to encounter.  Love is it’s own motivator and needs no help.  Love is complete.  God is love.

Fear is not love.  God, who is the ultimate authority and example of love, allows us to fall in love with Him/Her by our own choice and will.  Demands of perfection, repercussions from poor performance are not a constant reminder to draw us closer to the Supreme.  I find too many inconsistencies with the logic of fear to make people act obedient and faithful.  It just doesn’t represent the kind of God I want to willingly follow.  It doesn’t represent God at all.

Love God or go to Hell.  Good luck with that.  In the future, how about coming over to the other side of the fence and celebrating life with the rest of us?  We have plenty of room and you would be welcome and appreciated.  I feel God really is into parties and I’m pretty certain which side of the fence He/She would be found.



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