Aloha Friday Message – January 16, 2009

Happy Aloha Friday

Attention. Affection. Affiliation. Approval. Four things every human being needs every day. Without these things, we whither. It starts when we are infants. We bond with the persons who hold us and feed us and clean us and love us. Their attention makes our minds, and hearts, grow. The affection we share with parents and siblings, relatives and friends helps define our personality. We have a natural tendency to form community and to express our need for affiliation; we want to belong. And to belong, we require approval. To get approval we have rites and ceremonies, hazings and initiations, standards of conducts and codes of behaviors. And from the attention, affection, and affiliations we have made, the approval we receive tends to foster warmer and closer attention, affection, and affiliations. It’s a nice cycle when it works the way God planned it.

This type of peer relationship, a collegiality of caring, is the basis of our community-centered living. I believe that laws and religions and governments and families all reflect ways we build and strengthen community ties and boundaries. We have requirements for membership in any community whether it is as broad as the whole of humanity or as small as a group of playmates in preschool. Those requirements are based on respect and caring for ourselves and for those around us, respect and caring that has been taught to us through our immersion in the community.

Community, though, is not, or at least should not, be just a human experience. We know that God is also Community expressed as the Holy Trinity. For this community all of the requirements for membership, for participation, for conduct are absolute because the Community is Absolute – Unconditional, Totally Integral, Unlimited, Supreme, Pure, Perfect: God. Not “The Force.” Not “Intelligent Design.” Purely and simply, wonderfully and awesomely GOD in Three Persons. And that Community and our community can also share with one another attention, affection, affiliation, and approval.

How do we give God attention? Listen to what is said by The Word, look at what happens when The Word is expressed, appreciate the effects of that expression, and acknowledge the greatness of each moment spent paying attention to the Creator’s creations.

How do we give God affection? Most of us know that is easy to do. “We love Him because He first Loved us.” I believe He doesn’t love any one of us more than any other of us, so no matter how we say, “I love you” to Him, He hears us saying, “I Love you.” Capitol-L Love is the way God Loves, and He seems to be delighted to believe that we Love Him in the same way.

Affiliation. There’s a tough one. How can we affiliate with God? He’s Perfect, and all those things listed up there with Absolute. Humans can’t affiliate with THAT! Well, God knew we would think like that, so He made the Affiliation part the easiest part, not the most difficult. He became Filios, one of us so He and we could find common ground and therein the basis for affiliation.

So what about approval? Is it possible to show appreciation and agreement with God? Oh, yes! Whenever we praise Him in thought, word or deed, we are showing our appreciation and agreement with His Presence in our world, in our lives, in our hearts and minds. When we realize how much we admire His works and His ways and acknowledge that to each other and to Him, we are showing Him and each other our approval. And that’s a good thing, too.

It is good because we are created to be like Him. We have an affinity for everything that He is: Holy, Integral, Eternal, Just, Loving, Merciful, and most importantly capable of choosing to meld our community with His and His with ours. We need to give and receive attention, affection, affiliation, and approval because God made us that way; He made us in His image and His likeness. We are most complete when we decide to be Community in every way He intended us to be so.

Aloha nui loa. Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever . . . at your service.


And I seek attention, affection, affiliation, and even approval from you, Beloved, because – thanks be to God – I love you

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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