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This article actually criticises a characteristic of Quakerism: liberal political views. However, the criticisms (like earlier criticisms of pacifism) are made in the context of our own practice of mysticism (See Hearing from God) and our own practice of liberalism.

The Bible says that love must be more than words; it must manifest itself in actions (1 John 3:18), and often in actions which cost us deeply... at times even costing us our lives. (1 John 3:16)

We have long known that the so-called love of the average churchgoer is pitiful, to say the least. But the love of those outside the church, who are concerned about issues like poverty and justice, is not what it should be either. We live in a day when the Bible says that because "iniquity abounds," "the love of many shall wax cold". (Matthew 24:12)

It takes more than positive thinking, magic crystals, and fancy words to right the wrongs of our society. As a consequence, even those people who express genuine concern for the poor and oppressed usually fall short when it comes to producing the goods.

You can get some to sign petitions, or even to march in the occasional parade, waving banners and balloons. They are quick to express anger at the Government too. But when commitment is called for, that extends beyond a quick jump on the bandwagon, the masses frequently dissolve into shadows.

Why? In this article, I am going to suggest three reasons why the high ideals of the political left so often fail when they are needed most.

One reason is that Western society replaced real character and real love and real faith decades ago, with a doctrine of selfishness. "You have to love yourself before you can love your neighbour," we were told. And like so often happens, when proper priorities get reversed (which is the case with this 'love yourself first' philosophy), most of us never get around to the second option. (See The Cult of Selfishness.)

All of the quests for self-esteem, self-realisation, self-actualisation, etc. never seem to bring satisfaction. We move from therapist, to pharmacist, to retailer, to estate agent, trying to find the perfect formula for comfort, peace, and happiness. The flaw is that we have overlooked the truism that happiness only really comes through helping others.

The second reason that so much of the world's love is counterfeit these days, is that we have mistakenly waged a war on the very source of genuine love. Because we have seen counterfeits in the church, much of the West has turned against God and Jesus. And this is particularly true of the political Left.

In my experiences with left-wing activists --the people who say all the right things about helping the poor and the oppressed--I have to constantly be careful about using the "G" word, or even the "J" word (Jesus). The reaction when I do mention God or Jesus is often quite angry, and has, at times, even been violent.

A fellow activist asked me, "Why do you need to mention Jesus at all? Can't you just believe in him secretly?" They don't realise just how unfair and biased such a suggestion is. They do not take that kind of approach to any other great leader or any other world religion. So why the hang-up about God and Jesus?

It seems like the Left is willing to tolerate every New Age religion or philosophy that pops up, and to promote tolerance for every other religion of the world except Christianity. And rarely does anyone ask why. If we had a genuine cure for cancer, would we feel it necessary to hide the source of that cure from others? If not, then why should we hide the source of real love, when the world is so badly in need of it?

God is love. Or as the Bible puts it, "Here is love--not that we loved God--but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the payment for our sins." (1 John 4:10)

Sins? God? These are fighting words to most of my left-wing friends. But while we run away from both (i.e. from God as the source of perfect love, and from recognising our inability to duplicate perfect love without him), we cut off our own means for truly changing the world.

I watch these same friends as they turn on one another in nit-picking feuds over some of the most ridiculous issues; and I see these same people turn the other way when a call goes out for volunteers to do something for the cause that will involve a bit of pain, hunger, ridicule, or time off work. When I see this, I get the feeling that their love is no more genuine than that of the churches.

And that brings us to the final reason why love is lukewarm (or just plain cold) today. The love of many has waxed cold because of materialism. Of course materialism (or idolatry as the Bible calls greed--Philippians 3:5) stems from a loss of faith in God. Jesus taught that the love of money is the cause of all the evil in the world. (1 Timothy 6:10) He had the audacity to declare that the Creator of the Universe would care for the material needs of all those who will spend their lives building God's kingdom of faith and love. (Matthew 6:19-34) Indeed, he taught that this is the whole purpose of our existence, i.e. to work for love rather than to work for money.

Jesus taught us not to judge people by religious affiliations. (John 4:23-24) This is because true Christianity is not a religion at all, and should not be confused with institutional Christianity. There is no religion in the world (and that includes all of the churchy counterfeits) that dares to make the claim, as Jesus did, that his Father will feed and clothe all of us if we will work for him rather than working for money. (Matthew 6:31-33) Only Jesus--who had this special relationship with God that has been translated as being God's "only begotten Son" --had the confidence to make this claim on God's behalf.

But because people are not prepared to turn loose of their dependence on material possessions, they are not free to truly advance the cause of justice and compassion. Every time a need confronts them, their hands are tied by obligations to their employers. And so they turn to fund-raising and political solutions... solutions that eventually turn out to be just as corrupt as the systems which preceded them.

Real love, like real sincerity, is extremely rare in today's world. When we find people with either, we know that we have found something pretty special. Don't let your love "wax cold". Get things back into the right order: Jesus and Others and You... what a wonderful way to spell J.O.Y... or for that matter, what a wonderful way to spell love.

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