Jason Craige Harris on Love as a Radical Act

September 2, 2013

By Jason Craige Harris

If viewed simply as saccharine or only as the affective pull between, say, two creatures, love loses its world-changing potency. If there is any hope that empires will crumble and that new ones won’t arise from the ruins; if there is any hope that Life-affirming ways of being will become more norm than anomaly, love must be more than its individualist manifestations. It must be an expressly political and creative force that enables us, as individuals and collectives, to seize Life with tenacity, to honor all life forms in our midst, and thereby to counteract the ways we have become addicted to death. Being socialized into lovelessness and its cultures of domination means that many of us unknowingly crave the death of an Other our soul refuses to welcome. Once we treat an Other as disposable, once we institutionalize that treatment in our cultural practices, we have surrendered to love’s absence. Capacious love, love that has substance, radically draws us out of ourselves, liberates us from anti-Life addiction, and enlarges our soul’s capacity to embrace. It asks us continually, “Where does your soul end? And how might you extend it?” Putting a demand on our imaginations, this love holds us accountable to a vision of the future that includes us all and to a politics of Life that will get us there. It inextricably links self-love and Other-love, recognizing the interdependent character of Life. Love is therefore difficult, challenging, demanding, unyielding, and gritty. Since it is a force, it cannot be owned, and its allegiance to Life cannot be tamed. Love leads. It calls to us incessantly. It nags. It agitates. It provokes. It refuses to let us go. How will we respond?

capacious loveAn educator, writer, and minister, Jason Craige Harris has expertise in religion, ethics, literature, and theory. He is the writing instructor at Friends Seminary (NYC) and the Strategic Operations Leader at Postcolonial Networks.

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2 Responses to Jason Craige Harris on Love as a Radical Act

  1. Rev Max B Surjadinata on September 11, 2013 at 11:36 am

    Thank you for this….
    Perhaps I was fortunate, and in retrospect, thankful for experiences and people that I have cross paths who taught me that love, in the beginning, the middle, and the end, is what life is all about.
    From my childhood, at the age of four, my father, who was a young pastor just graduated from theological school, was taken to prison, and later executed. From him, I learned what grew as a conviction, and from the faith requires speaking the truth and acting truthfully without fear–always in love.
    Then, at first as a foreign student, and a minority non-white person, having to confront racism, I learned not to be afraid to love, as I joined others in the civil rights movement. I thank all the sisters and brothers of that period, who taught me by their lives of witness and speaking the truth — to love.
    And now, in retirement, I continue to learn as that author of Hebrews taught us, in Hebrews 13:off…”Let mutual love continue…
    Or, as Alice Walker so wonderfully and delightfully puts it, “God loves everything you love — and a mess of stuff you don’t.”

    Thank you and blessings upon you.

    • Jason Craige Harris on September 14, 2013 at 6:55 pm

      Your heart is so beautiful, Max. Thank you for sharing it with me and with so many others.

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