Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-12-13
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  IDENTITY

SPIRITUALITY: Rev. Eric J. Edwards
by Amy Matheny
2005-02-01

This article shared 4677 times since Tue Feb 1, 2005
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


February brings red paper hearts and chocolates wrapped in foil to every grocery and department store. But shouldn't we think about love the other 11 months as well? And what kind of love do we want in our lives and what can we expect? Rev. Eric J. Edwards of Resurrection and Hope Ministries challenges us to explore the complexities of unconditional love. Is it possible to find? Or possible to provide for another? How do we strive to love better and more fully?

REV. ERIC J. EDWARDS

Unconditional Love

It always seems like the older you get the more you start to remember the good old days. The simpler moments. Rare are the dates ( as in When Harry Met Sally ) when a simple grilled cheese sandwich can turn into a multidimensional, hedonistic source of orgasmic sensual pleasure. In this age when the people living in any state in this union can be defined as simply as the colors red or blue, we have the tendency to boil down every complex and multi-dimensional issue into simply 'us vs. them.' However, my friend, these should be the days of diversity and inclusiveness—when we can no longer ignore that which needs the most attention. Even if it makes us uncomfortable.

Can love really be 'unconditional' in the 21st century? I'm not sure it can or really has to be. Even in most churches, where we involve and maneuver ourselves within our prospective communities, there are issues and plagues of HIV/AIDS, Homelessness, Racism, Sexism, and Classism. We are conditional with our benevolence, we call that wisdom; and conditional with our ministerial evaluations, we call that theological knowledge. We sometimes communicate our convictions with so much contempt that it's hard to find the love anywhere within. And still the world outside our doors continues to look for love in all the wrong places. However I do know that love can be what the Apostles Paul and Peter describe as 'unfeigned'.

As far as I know, this particular adjective is used only twice in biblical scripture when referring to love. 2 Corinthians 6:6 and 1 Peter 1:22. In both instances, simply defined, it means: love without hypocrisy. Without going into the historical and cultural context of the scriptures mentioned, I believe that this is the kind of love that most of us are looking for. I remember one of the elderly women in the Pentecostal church that I used to attend defined love this way, 'Love means commitment.' But regardless of whatever kind of relationship we find ourselves in: friendship, partner, pastor, or parishioner, we want to be able to trust and count on the people with whom we share our histories, lives, and even our bodies. We want to know that there is someone someplace that will love us in our entirety and just as we are. The good, the bad, and the ugly!

The Apostle John speaks to this idea in his gospel ( John 13:23&25 ) . As Jesus speaks of the one who is going to betray Him, you can tell that Jesus is committed to loving even the one that will take an integral part in His crucifixion. You find no hypocrisy here. Not even hatred. You find only the acknowledgement of whom His disciples really were, and the understanding of their places in His life. Although He was about to die for the sins of the world, there could be no room in His heart for hatred, or even extreme dislike. Love was not only the focus, but also the motive and incentive. Committed to His cause, Jesus not only proceeded to the cross and the tomb, but was resurrected and given to us as an example of how we should live in community. Connected to one another. Ideal isn't it. But it is not just ideal, it is a commandment.

So how do we live this out? That's the real question. Our quest for fame, power, influence, and control has clouded true love. It has cost us in our countries, nation, cities, and communities. I might even dare to say that the concept of unconditional love has been dismembered in some of our churches. If only we could purchase a spiritual hepa filter so that every person we meet could be processed through it. We would then be spared the pain of having to learn the hard way, which ones are truly loving us and which ones are not.

But if we were spared the pain of the process, could we really appreciate the joy and the power that comes from unearthing ( or even resurrecting ) that someone who really does love us? All of us. Even the parts of us that we need to change as we experience and enjoy this gift we call life!

It is my prayer that we are all able to find unfeigned love and experience it, but the greater joy is in being able to give it! Yes, the greater elation is in resurrecting the God-given ability to 'love unfeignedly' within ourselves. I believe it is there that we will find unconditional love!

Pastor Eric J. Edwards is the pastor at Resurrection and Hope Ministries, Inc. For more information, please contact resandhope@cs.com . For comments on this column email editor@windycitymediagroup.com .

Rev. Eric J. Edwards has been serving in ministry more than 20 years. He is the Founder and Senior Pastor of Resurrection & Hope Ministries in Hyde Park—an Open & Affirming ministry that is providing a safe, nurturing, and electrifying \atmosphere for all God's people.


This article shared 4677 times since Tue Feb 1, 2005
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

Out and Aging
Presented By

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

VIEWS Mike Johnson: The smiling face of Christian tyranny 2024-02-14
- Mike Johnson wants to rewrite the constitution to make the United States a Christian nation. James Michael Johnson, Republican from Louisiana's Fourth District, is the 56th speaker of the United States House of Representatives. He was ...


Gay News

VIEWS Parents, not legislators, should be making decisions about medical options for children 2024-02-06
By Jeffery M. Leving - No matter the medical issue, when it comes to kids, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said something last December that every lawmaker in the country should realize when it comes to medical decisions for children. "Were House ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Sundance items, Green Day, 'Wednesday,' Queerties, 'The Wiz' 2024-01-26
- At the Sundance Film Festival, Jodie Foster told Variety that the $1.4-billion success of Barbie helps confirm that Hollywood no longer views women directors as too much of a risk. She said, "With a big success ...


Gay News

VIEWS Is the Pope Catholic? Francis faces opposition in steps toward LGBTQ+ inclusivity 2024-01-02
- The recent change in Vatican policy allowing priests to bless same-gender couples has provoked an unprecedented backlash against Pope Francis and his openness to LGBTQ+ people—a backlash that some fear might devolve into a schism in ...


Gay News

Bring Chicago Home: Guess who's saying no again 2023-12-04
Commentary by Bob Palmer and Mark Swartz - Chicago is ushering in an era of change with a new progressive mayor with a vision to invest in communities long ignored and a significant increase in like-minded city council members. We are excited to see ...


Gay News

Pope Francis's community of transwomen 2023-11-28
- It's a rare opportunity to meet the pope. It's even rarer if you're a transgender Catholic. However, on Nov. 19, in Torvaianica, Italy, a community of transwomen, many of them sex workers, were welcomed and seated ...


Gay News

Banning the Banning of Books: Illinois and California lead the way 2023-10-26
- In June, at the Harold Washington Library in Chicago, Governor JB Pritzker signed legislation banning book bans in Illinois public libraries. This legislation, initiated by Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias, passed the Illinois House and ...


Gay News

OPINION Renewing state's Invest in Kids program is investing in anti-LGBTQ+ hate 2023-10-23
- In February 2020, Bishop Thomas Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield warned transgender students in the Diocese's educational system that they "may be expelled from the school" if they live their lives authentically. Lansing Christian School ...


Gay News

Gilbert Baker Foundation reacts to death of shop owner who flew the rainbow flag 2023-08-29
--From a press release - In response to the murder of Laura Ann Carleton over flying the Rainbow flag in her shop in California, the Gilbert Baker Foundation released the statement below. Facebook refused to post the statement as it did not "...meet their standards." ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINT U.S. higher education under siege; freedom of inquiry and speech at risk 2023-07-03
- The Covid pandemic threw a harsh spotlight on higher education in America, exposing forces eating away at the foundations of college and university learning, calling into question the traditional purposes of such education in our post-modern, ...


Gay News

Guest essay by Florida mom Nicole Pejovich: What's Happening to Florida's Public Schools? 2023-06-19
Related video below - A queer Florida parent answers questions about recent laws, how Floridians are coping, and how you can help Books pulled from school library shelves by the dozens. All evidence of inclusivity stripped from classrooms. The politically ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINT For divorced parents, transgender children's health can present tricky dilemmas 2023-06-12
- Over the last few months, issues impacting individuals who identify as transgender and non-binary are getting a lot of attention in the media and among some politicians. Sadly, because it's become a political issue; a lot ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINT War in the 21st Century: mercenaries, private military companies, private armies 2023-05-20
- In 2022, $407 billion of the Pentagon budget—representing half of that year's funding —were obligated to private contractors, of which a significant number were Private Military Companies (PMCs) involved in ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINT Telling the world about my mental health disorders 2023-05-04
- Over the years, coming out as a lesbian hasn't been that hard for me—because I was always too busy hiding something else. Confessing queerness can be a breeze compared to revealing mental illness. But I decline ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINT German bishops endorse blessings of same-sex couples: Ancient rituals retturn 2023-03-31
- This March, at a national meeting of leaders of the German Catholic Church (referred to as a synod), a document titled Blessing Ceremonies for Couples who Love Each Other" received overwhelming support: 176 votes in favor, ...


 


Copyright © 2024 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.

All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.