The Love Ethic


All of us who are working to create space that allows Beloved Community to come into being wish that we could find a one-time remedy that would achieve this quickly and easily. If there is any such energy to help with achieving this in the world it can be characterized best by Dr. Howard Thurman's understanding of the Love Ethic. According to Thurman, “the Love Ethic requires that we see people beyond all of their assets and deficits and that we give whatever we have to give to them without the hope or desire of reciprocity.” Of course, the biggest challenge with this idea is that it is so close to impossible for us to do.

The idea of unconditional love and acceptance is certainly possible, but so unlikely because regardless of how selfless we imagine ourselves to be, we need and want affirmation and support from one another and in seeking to find that we engage in making assessments of one another. We find ourselves assessing who is most likely to help us in our search for whatever it is that we have deemed ourselves to need in order for life to be alright. All of us are caught by this cultural narrative about investing ourselves with others and the necessity to strive for equity in those encounters so that we are not giving more than we are getting. This narrative makes it complicated and mostly impossible to simply engage one another as parts of the human family and to bring ourselves to those encounters without having too many expectations of what the gift is that we may receive.


It has been said that we are in “Earth School” as we travel through this life and that notion makes me want to be sure that I learn the name of the classes that I am being enrolled in by the angels and ancestors. At the present moment, I am in the class on unconditional love and the Love Ethic. Unfortunately, I am a long way from a passing grade because I realize how difficult it is to move into the space of faith that allows me to let go of having to work to find fulfillment to the space of trusting that I will be fulfilled by embracing the selflessness that unconditionally loving another person requires. This work demands much self-interrogation and being willing to honestly face the results of that reflective process along with trusting that affirmation and support will be provided.

Our capitalist notions of investment and returns have no place in this part of the journey because the investment of ourselves in others without requiring anything back from them is quite a long distance from our capitalist notions of the way that the world should operate. There is a far amount of paradox surrounding this issue. The people that we love should know that they can count on us to give them whatever we have to share, but we need to have no strings attached as we connect to one another. Since we are human beings with many levels of needs and expectations and we are created in the image of the God/Goddess of the universe and rightfully understand ourselves as deserving to have a fulfilling life journey, it is imperative that we seek to find the true source of fulfillment and healing.

It is complicated. The effort to drill this dilemma down to some type of oversimplified formulaic way of being in the world will not work either. It appears the work of engaging the Love Ethic and moving to a place of being capable of unconditionally loving another person must be done in our inner communities. The continuous journeys to the core of our being and allowing the holy light of transformation to meet us on that path are required. Along with this, it is crucial to name the inner wounds that need to be healed by that light instead of seeking that healing from our fellow humans, we are invited to engage healing in this deeper way. This work leads to the courage to embrace all of the members that we meet in our inner community and to bring the results of those inner encounters into daily living in ways that allow us to be free and help to create the space for Beloved Community to be born. How are you doing with the Love Ethic? Find someone to talk to about this invitation to become more free. Be courageous.

Be a half a shade braver.