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Fierce Love

My daughter reminded me of the unruly nature of fierce love when she was much younger. In our home, we have one of those Ruggles (heart shapes in nature) poster with the words “Love is where you find it.” It’s a constant reminder to find love wherever you are and part of the spirit we want to build in our home. Of course it’s not always easy to remember this truth nor is it neat and orderly. One day my daughter was feeling a bit hard done by. She was having a mini tantrum and blurted out, “Love is NOT where you find it.” I had to hold back my giggles. But I’ve never loved her more than in that moment. Whenever I see random heart shapes now I think of her fierce wisdom, the truth of authentic love. Instead of getting the giggles, I get the ruggles, the reminder that love is real and everywhere and surprising and not always soft and mushy.

As you can imagine this was no laughing matter to my daughter. It was a raw expression of being misunderstood and after saying the words, she composed herself quickly. Within minutes she was skipping around the house. All was forgiven. She did not get her way, but learnt that she could get over disappointment and move on. She had learnt another, tough, side of love, and so had I.

Just as love heart shapes can be found in the most natural and basic materials, so fierce love is found in the most fundamental, the rawest, of human emotions, including despair, confusion and disappointment.

The classic 80’s song said “You can’t hurry love.” Hurry? You can barely control it at all. It has a mind of its own. The American author Tom Robbins put it beautifully,

Love is the ultimate outlaw. It won’t adhere to rules. The most any of us can do is to sign on as its accomplice. Instead of vowing to honor and obey, maybe we should swear to aid and abet. That would mean that security is out of the question.

Security is out of the question. When you become love’s accomplice, you will steal hearts, and break and enter into the most secure personal space. As Bruno Mars sang, “Take a grenade for love. Do anything for love.” Do it without a trace of certainty that your love will be received or reciprocated.

The principle applies equally to social activism as it does to personal romance. When you follow love’s fierce call, it offers no guaranteed outcomes or timeline.

Fierce love is risky business. It is an act of faith. But the greater the risk, the more powerful the growth and adventure. Without the comfort of security, fierce love achieves something far more powerful; honest engagement with reality.

Fierce love is transformative, especially when you stretch your love beyond the people who are easiest to love and include those who are harder to love. The Jewish masters tell a story about an old man walking down a road. The story is told by a passerby who watched the whole thing take place. A horseman appears out of nowhere and charges straight toward the old man who has to throw himself into a ditch to save himself. Clambering out of the ditch, the old man shakes his fist at the horseman riding off into the distance and shouts, “May you be blessed. May your deepest desires be fulfilled!”

The passerby is amazed and asks the man, “Why would you wish such a good thing for someone who nearly killed you?”

The old man answers, “If his deepest desires were fulfilled, he would have no need to run an old man off the road.”

The people who are hardest to love need it the most. The parts of each of us that are least loveable are the parts that need the most loving. This sort of loving requires fierce acceptance.

Fierce love is there waiting for you to remove all the barriers and become its accomplice. Fierce love IS you. It comes without any money back guarantees of security. But it comes with something far more powerful. It comes with the absolute certainty that you will feel alive and you WILL grow. The certainty of growth is one thing you can take to the bank.

 

In March 2015, we’re launching a new online program on Fierce Love. You can read more about it and sign up for free here.

 

I interviewed some incredible leaders and activists and asked each of them the question, What does fierce love mean to you? The responses were incredible. Those interviewed include Noam Chomsky, Lisa Wimberger, Paul Hawken, Rha Goddess, Rabbi Michael Lerner, Celia Alario, Andrew Harvey and SO many more.

I’m excited to share it with you. Please sign up and share widely. The world needs our fiercest love more than ever right now.

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