The Power of Love is Transcendent: Guest Author, Carl Mesle

Biography:  Carl Mesle is a retired minister with the Community of Christ Church in Independence, Missouri. He is my dad and Meg’s granddad.  Carl has dedicated his life to his church and his community.  He wrote and taught on creating healthy families and healthy children.  He retired as Pastor of the Stone Church in Independence.  At age 97 and in failing health, he wrote what he describes as his “final” letter to the editor of our hometown newspaper.  It was published in the Independence Examiner, May 31, 2012.

The Power of Love is Transcendent

Love–sacrificial, caring love–is the greatest power in the world.  It abolishes hate.  It brings people together in caring communities.  It provides the pathway to unity.  It provides the power to bring couples together and to produce children in caring familities, and it offers the support of relatives and friends.

On the wider community level, it offers peace between nations and cultures and provides a mutually compatible relationship between humans, animals and the resources of nature.  It eliminates warfare.  It is expressed in the care of animals.  It makes it possible for people to labor together to create buildings of beauty and sturdiness.  It provides the foundation of human endeavors, which permit the exploration of the seas and the skies.

Loving and caring for oneself is also essential to living one’s best.  Possibly the most exciting and satisfying element of love is expressed in the intimate, physical experiences in the sexual relationship of mating, but only when it is mutually sought and enjoyed.

There are several kinds of love, that of lovers, that in the everyday working of couples in marriage, that of a parent for a child, that of laying one’s life down for a friend, and that spiritual love exchanged between God and his worshipers.

Please note: the views expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the primary authors of Shifting the Balance.  However, we think it is important to encourage the free flow of ideas in order to promote collective action and compromise.  In order to keep the country “in balance” we believe we should all work together, and that means sharing and respecting ideas, including those that may be different from our own.

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The Politics of Faith–Who Speaks for God

I’m a preacher’s kid (that is “PK” for short).  I was raised in church, or it seemed that way.  We were taught that we were part of the one “true” church.  But we were also raised to believe in loving one another, treating others with respect, working hard and following the adage that “to whom much is given, much is expected”.  God was the center of the family.

My family history is replete with relatives who were part of minority Christian religions.  My Mayflower ancestors , Thomas Rogers, John and Francis Cooke were Separatists who moved to the Leiden, Netherlands because of religious persecution in England, before sailing to a better life in Plymouth.  More recent ancestors participated in the Seventh Day Baptist Church, the Free Will Baptist Church, and the Methodist Episcopal Church.  I was always mindful of the ways in which my beliefs compared, and contrasted, with those of more vocal participants in public life.

My grandparents were “God-fearing” people, active in their religion. Unique for their time, they believed, as part of their faith, in equality of the sexes and equality of people of different races.   With the benefit of a rich religious heritage I have been privileged throughout my life to interact with people representing a wide variety of religious and moral perspectives. Many of my closest friends are not Christian.  I have been privileged to see glimpses of the world through their eyes.  I do not find their faith or their morality to be in any way deficient.

As an observer in the political process, I ask myself, what is the role of faith in public life?  How do we remain true to our beliefs, whatever they are, while also remaining true to the other teachings I remember from childhood about respect for others?  How do we  work for a better world when our own understandings of how to make such a world are so limited.  How do we appropriately show respect for the beliefs of others while remaining faithful to our own world views and beliefs.  As I struggled with these issues, it occurred to me that there were two books in my collection I could turn to for wisdom. They are Faith and Politics, by former U.S. Senator John Danforth, and The Mighty and the Almighty” by former U.S. Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright.  I hope  that my exploration of these books will be of interest to our followers.