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‘Why Do So Many People Run From Love??’

On New Year’s Eve in 1976, the well known author Michael Harper was sailing solo on Lake Taupo in New Zealand.  Suddenly his boat capsized in a particularly violent squall about a mile offshore. Clinging to the side of the boat and unable to right it, Michael was rescued after an hour in the chilly glacial waters. He nearly died of hypothermia.

When Michael recovered, he asked God why He had saved him and what God wanted him to do. The reply came something like this: "I want you to learn how to love people the same way as I do." Michael learned that very day that life is meant to be a Love Affair, that life is meant to be dedicated to learning how to really love each other in a genuine way. The famous ethicist Joseph Fletcher wrote that the opposite of love is not "hate" but rather "indifference".  Fletcher writes, "... There is one thing worse than evil itself, and that is indifference to it." The lowest point to which our society often seems to sink is when it says, I couldn’t care less.’

As Michael Harper struggled with learning how to really love people, he became aware that there are few words in the English language that are more open to abuse than the word "love". "Love is swampy" is how Joseph Fletcher describes the problem. Much of what is called love today is little more than making sure that our needs are met. Need centered love, however, is self centered and narcissistic. True love, said Karl Barth, is when a person gives them self to another with no expectation of a return, in a pure venture, even at the risk of ingratitude, and of that other person’s refusal to make a response of love. That kind of love is very scary because it involves the possibility of being rejected and hurt.  That is why we so often prefer self centered love to other centered love.

Is love just an illusion, or is it more real than the keyboard you are touching right now?? Why are we so afraid of real love?
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North Vancouver, B.C.