13 February, 2012

Love? on Valentine's day..................... g f xavier

“Will you love me in December as you do in May,
Will you love me in the good old fashioned way?
When my hair has all turned gray,
Will you kiss me then and say,
That you love me in December as you do in May?“ James J. Walker.

This may be a very important day in everyone’s life (Valentine’s Day). The search for love and to live for love and the demands of love are the ones that make people happy and sad. “The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread” Mother Teresa. All are in search of love. And then the question arises, what is love? It is very complicated. The explanation or definition of love depends upon each person. “Without love, what are we worth?  Eighty-nine cents!  Eighty-nine cents worth of chemicals walking around lonely” Laurence Marks.

I believe love is a healing or curing material for most of the sicknesses. Sicknesses begin basically from mind and if one’s mind and heart is filled with satisfactory love relationships, it helps the whole person. May be holistically is love the main remedy for all sickness. But this love which fills ones heart depends on each ones concept of love. “Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence” Eric Fromm. The concept of love is formed by birth and the initial child development ages or pre-school ages. The parents have a major role in the formation of concept of love in each one. Some live for love, some search after only sex in love, some want only a little cuddling, some enjoy living together, some hate living with another, some find fulfillment in partners, some seek love among same gender, some hate making love, some cant love at all, etc… “Sometimes it's a form of love just to talk to somebody that you have nothing in common with and still be fascinated by their presence” David Byrne. Can love and sex be seen differently? Making love is a need of age. People never made love lack a major part of their state of normalcy.  "Being with someone in bed gives trust, fulfillment, satisfaction, self-confidence, self-acceptance, happiness, self-belief, etc… “Love is the word used to label the sexual excitement of the young, the habituation of the middle-aged, and the mutual dependence of the old” John Ciardiso.  I believe love cannot be defined and the definition suitable for each one can be formed in each one’s mind depending of his or her personality.

(My spiritual outlook) I believe god is love and there is no god without love. Some say God is a judge who judges each one’s life according to his or her activities. But he is not a judge based on our thinking. He doesn’t judge on the basis of testimonies and witnesses. It is not a civil court and the justice is not based on the investigations. His justice is justice based on love. He doesn’t see one as a culprit and accuse anyone or destroy anyone. He is keeping his hands open and welcomes all to be good. Love is just including each and every one. No one will be excluded on the basis of his deeds.

But I don’t believe the love of God without love of human beings. "The person who tries to live alone will not succeed as a human being. His heart withers if it does not answer another heart. His mind shrinks away if he hears only the echoes of his own thoughts and finds no other inspiration”. Pearl S. Buck. God’s love is witnessed in the love and relationship of each other. So there is no love life without God. If god is love, let all be given a chance to love. And it is natural to love someone of other sex and if anyone is in love or feels to love someone of same sex because of the development of his or her personality, is also natural to the person. So all forms of love and all demands of love from each and every one needs to be respected as each and every one has the freedom to live on this earth and to find the fulfillment of love in their life. Everyone’s dreams need to be fulfilled and one needs to facilitate others in their fulfillment of their search of love. “Take away love and our earth is a tomb” Robert Browning.

“Love is a symbol of eternity.  It wipes out all sense of time, destroying all memory of a beginning and all fear of an end” Author Unknown. And what is there greater in one’s life other than to know that ‘I am being loved’. To love and to be in love is like being in ‘heaven’. It is the most important form of experiencing God or just living weightless. It is feeling of flying in the air like birds. “There is no surprise more magical than the surprise of being loved.  It is God's finger on man's shoulder” Charles Morgan.

“Do I love you because you're beautiful,
Or are you beautiful because I love you?” Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, Cinderella.

05 February, 2012

Communism and Jesus (recent controversy in Kerala)

These days the discussion in the state of Kerala in India is something that could be mentioned and thought of. Is Jesus a revolutionary? Is Jesus Christ the first communist? Who is a communist and who is Jesus Christ? Jesus cannot be a communist as the communism itself is a product very late in history when compared to the presence of Jesus almost 2000 years before. So he was not a communist in the very simple sense. But in the area of ideology and philosophy, is he a communist? Not fully but to a certain extent. The differences begin with the concept of atheism. Then Jesus preached love and there was no place in his teaching for violence and hatred. But communists have employed violence and hatred in their teachings. Nothing was compulsory for Jesus in his teaching and it was open for all to follow or to decline. But the communism is a compulsory result. Thus there are a lot of differences if we go on basically analyze the whole of the teachings of Jesus and the philosophy or ideology of communism.

The history has also witnessed the enmity of communist followers against the Christians or it can be interpreted directly as against Jesus. But Jesus is not responsible for all the mistakes made by the church and so the communism was against the church. It is thus solved.

But if we concentrate on the similarities in the teachings of Jesus with the communistic ideals, I would say it just covers or overlaps the whole of differences. The definition of communism needs to be thought of. Communism comes from the Latin word communis, which means "shared" or "belong to all". The definition commonly used is that communism is “a theory or system of social organization based on the holding of all property in common, actual ownership being ascribed to the community as a whole or to the state“. Now just read the following bible verses.

"All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts." (Acts 2:44-46 NIV). "All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need." (Acts 4:32-35 NIV). I think we don’t need any explanation or interpretation other than to explain things away.
(Photo source: http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2007/2331830273_5513c60598_o.png)

www.allaboutphilosophy.org would give us the following details.
According to The Communist Manifesto, Communism has ten essential planks:
1.    Abolition of Private Property.
2.    Heavy Progressive Income Tax.
3.    Abolition of Rights of Inheritance.
4.    Confiscation of Property Rights.
5.    Central Bank.
6.    Government Ownership of Communication and Transportation.
7.    Government Ownership of Factories and Agriculture.
8.    Government Control of Labor.
9.    Corporate Farms and Regional Planning.
10. Government Control of Education.
Fundamentally, The Communist Manifesto was a rebellion against the extreme poverty of the lower class.

Recently I could find again this blog to read the 20 reasons this blogger sited to state why Jesus is a communist. http://jwray.videosift.com. I quote the 20 reason down.
1.  He threw the moneychangers out of the temple and called them theives.  They were just ordinary businessmen in a laissez-faire economy. 
2.  He said, "It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven."
3.  He encouraged people to give everything they could, and promised that god would support everyone in need.  Just like socialism.
Matthew 19:21
Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
4.  "turn the other cheek"
5. "love thy enemy"
6.  "blessed are the peacemakers"
7. "blessed are the meek"
8. "woe unto ye who are rich"
 9. "forgive our debts, as we forgive our debtors" -- clearly he would favor bailing out poor people with subprime mortgages.
10. "Give us this day our daily bread" -- what a sense of entitlement to demand handouts!!! 
 11. "Every mountain shall be made low, every valley shall be exalted" --although this is actually from Isaiah's prophecy about the messiah, it looks like a metaphor for proletarian revolution
 12.  Some early christians (before 200BC) actually established agricultural communes.
 13. Jesus is soft on crime: anybody who believes in his scapegoat-like sacrifice will be forgiven.
 14. Jesus loves the poor, the prostitutes, the lepers,  etc.   And he gave them free healthcare!  That's not what Ronald Reagan or John McCain would do.
15. Jesus said nothing about or against homosexuality.
 16. "and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy father which is in secret" -- clearly Jesus opposes school prayer.
 17. Jesus performed the "miracle of the loaves and fish" -- divine government handouts for the poor.
 18. "ask and it shall be given to you.  Seek and ye shall find.  Knock and the door shall be opened" -- giving the poor a sense of entitlement
 19.  "Blessed are the merciful"
 20.  "And if any man will sue thee, and take away thy cloak, let him have thy coat also.  And whosoever shall compell thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away"
Even though I am not totally for what he states here but it gives ample provocations to find the similarities.

Personally I would not say that Jesus is not a communist, but I would not go against the claims made by any groups to show the similarities and pointing on that telling that he is a communist on the basis of the teachings. For me Jesus was a big socialist. Socialism is friendlier than communism for me. But the new communist parties that are active are no more clinging to the violent approaches they had or are they not so uncompromising. They are friendlier and more humane.
What is socialism? "1. A theory or policy of social organization which aims at or advocates the ownership and control of the means of production, capital, land, property, etc., by the community as a whole, and their administration or distribution in the interests of all. 2. A state of society in which things are held or used in common." (from Oxford dictionary)

Gandhian aspects were more close to Jesus teachings than the communists. But he never advocated capitalism, which brought the evil of poverty on this earth. Capitalism widened the disparity between the poor and the rich. Rich became richer and poor poorer. It created a society of competitions and unhealthy comparisons. Globalization deepened the wound further.
Where is the role of church now? Those who know the church history well and in detail would know why the church was against the communists and why the communists were against the church. Read the causes of French revolution along with this. But all these mistakes were duly acknowledged by the church and the Catholic Church was ready to change the stance. Church thereafter tries its best to be poor friendly and charity oriented. The whole of the west is trying the best to be spiritual in becoming more charitable. To a certain extent I find that communism was a historic necessity to renovate the Catholic Church and it did do the mission in a meaningful way.

But why I say all these? The history has changed. There is peace in this area of societal differences and understanding. It may be useful at least to read and know what is Christian communism and biblical communism. These are some movements based on the studies done in these fields.

I would say those who protest at this moment against the CPM (communist party of India, Marxist) to just not to be blind against the truth. The party has taken the courage to acknowledge the world’s best and greatest revolutionary in the person of Jesus. He lived and died fighting against all the sociological evils that were prevalent in the society. I would be proud to say that although very late, the party has made a right move. This shows the openness and the broad thinking of the CPM and their readiness to include all people rather than excluding some. Jesus never excluded anyone because some were sinners or outcastes. He embraced all to his brotherhood. CPM takes this example now.

To CPM. It is not that Jesus is a communist but better Communists were the ones who brought the teachings of Jesus into their ideology and tried to bring into practice rather than the Christians. Gandhi did the same but in a better way.

To the revolting few among the Catholics. Please do not mislead and inject hatred and wrong teachings into the innocent young blood. Rather than revolting and digging the grave, do gratefully acknowledge the positive moves done by CPM to bring the poor, downtrodden and suffering together under one umbrella. Please do not divide the folk on the basis of religion and beliefs.

(I happened to watch a video where I saw a priest leading a group of KCYM youth with lighted torches and sounding malicious words against CPM party and making warnings of violent reactions. What is happening to them? Who is worse, these who malign the name of Church and Jesus or the party which positively depicted Jesus as a revolutionary?)

In fact the Communist party never titled him as ‘communist’ but as a revolutionary. As I was attending the catechism Sunday classes when I was child, I did had a text book titled, ‘Jesus the revolutionary’, in my mother tongue ‘Yeshu oru vimochakan’.

There are mistakes among everyone and in all the religions, political parties and persons. Change the attitude to blindly being against some on the basis of false and past theatrical reasons. It is time to change for the church or else the believers themselves may have to change their sides. Be inclusive of all irrespective of rich and poor, high caste and low caste, and all that divided society. Read again and again what Jesus said, and not what the church interpret as Jesus said. Remain in the words of Jesus and bible and not in the political agenda.

Mark 9: 38-42. (A Bible verse to reflect)
 38And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us. 39But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me. 40For he that is not against us is on our part. 41For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward. 42And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone was hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.