by Conference Minister Diane Weible
If you are signed up to receive emails from Valarie Kaur, as I am, you may have already seen this video, which she sent on Valentine’s Day. Her book, “See No Stranger” is the book that the Conference Council is reading right now. Her movement, “Revolutionary Love,” is something that inspires me every day.
In her email on Tuesday she offered this quote, “Love is sweet labor—fierce, bloody, imperfect, and life-giving. When we labor in love in a time of rage, love becomes revolutionary.”
One of her primary concepts is about the importance of stories. Stories can help us see no stranger and turn those we may be inclined to call strangers into siblings. She says that meeting a stranger is an invitation o welcome the part of us we do not yet know.
Hate crimes in our country are at an all-time high. Hate crimes against Asian Americans and the state-sanctioned violence against Black and Brown people are just two examples. There appears to be a “freedom” that some people feel to attack (physically and emotionally) another person because of the clothing they wear, the religion they follow, the people they love, the color of their skin, the language they speak—and so much more.
Valarie says forgiveness is freedom from hate. Those who hate are speaking from their own words—their own insecurity that causes them to try to dictate the “right” and “wrong” of how the world should look. “We love our opponents when we tend the wound in them,” Valarie says. “Tending to the wound is not healing them—only they can do that. Tending the wound allows us to see how our opponents have been radicalized by cultures and policies that we together can change.”
We first have to tend to our own rage and grief and love ourselves before we can engage in revolutionary love. This two-part way forward, to me, is what is so crucial. Tend the wounds in ourselves—do our own work—and then join with others in the movement for Revolutionary Love. This recipe, I believe, can change the cultures and policies that are destroying our society.
Valarie concludes her Ted Talk with a reminder that loving only ourselves is good but is narcissism; loving only our opponents is self-loathing; loving only others is ineffective. To engage in Revolutionary Love requires us to do all three.
Revolutionary Love Warriors, I hope you will join me in this work to tend our wounds, see the wounds in others, and commit to seeing no stranger.