“Love is the core. Love is what lasts. Love is what never dies” – Fr. Patrick Collins

NOTE: We haven’t posted an interview in over a year for two reasons: (1) We took a sabbatical. It’s exhausting being love in a world that seems to prefer hate. But now’s not the time to wither; it’s the time to be more loving, to build sturdier bridges, to ask, “How may I help you?”, and (2) we lost our wonderful professional transcriptionist. So transcribing each interview takes us much, much longer than it used to.

But we’re back…ready to love, build, and ask.

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In June of 2018, The Only Love Project’s Bill Murphy (BM) conducted the following interview with Fr. Patrick Collins (FP) at his beautiful home near Lake Michigan.

And when I write “beautiful,” I mean it. We sat on the deck that overlooks a lush, well manicured lawn and flowers, a slight breeze tinkling the wind chimes, the sound of running water from nearby fountains gurgling and bubbling.

It was an idyllic spot for the conversation that follows.

And what follows is an eloquent, fascinating interview not only about love, but also about the life of one of the most genuine people I’ve ever known. Enjoy!

BM: What would you like others to know about you?

FP: Well, I’m almost 82 years old, and I was born in Peoria, Illinois, raised in a small farming community called Wyoming.

I was a Protestant when I grew up; I became a Catholic during Continue reading

“Love is the most durable power in the world” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

41Lg9J1ApqL._SX337_BO1,204,203,200_One of the books that rarely leaves our side is Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, Strength to Love.

In it, Dr. King expresses what we believe is the critical component, the missing ingredient in the hearts and minds of today’s “resistors” and “activists”: love.

Dr. King writes,

“There will be no permanent solution to the race problem until oppressed men develop the capacity to love their enemies. The darkness of racial injustice will be dispelled only by the light of forgiving love…

“Of course, this is not practical. Life is a matter of getting even, of hitting back, of dog eat dog. Am I saying that Jesus commands us to love those who hurt us and oppress us? Do I sound like most preachers – idealistic and impractical? Maybe in some distant Utopia, you say, that idea will work, but not in the hard, cold work in which we live.

“My friends, we have followed the so-called practical way for too long a time now, and it has led inexorably to deeper confusion and chaos. Time is cluttered with the wreckage of communities that surrendered to hatred and violence. For the salvation of our nation, and the salvation of mankind, we must follow another way. This does not mean that we abandon our righteous efforts. With every ounce of our energy we must continue to rid this nation of the incubus of segregation. But we shall not in the process relinquish our privilege and our obligation to love. While abhorring segregation, we shall love the segregationist. This is the only way to create the beloved community.

“To our most bitter opponents we say: ‘We shall match your capacity to inflict suffering by our capacity to endure suffering. We shall meet your physical force with soul force. Do to us what you will, and we shall continue to love you. We cannot in all good conscience obey your unjust laws, because noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. Throw us in jail, and we shall still love you. Send your hooded perpetrators of violence into our community at the midnight hour and beat us and lave us half dead, and we shall still love you. But be ye assured that we will wear you down by our capacity to suffer. One day we shall win freedom, but not only for ourselves. We shall so appeal to your heart and conscience that we shall win you in the process, and our victory will be a double victory.’

“Love is the most durable power in the world. This creative force, so beautifully exemplified in the life of our Christ, is the most potent instrument available in mankind’s quest for peace and security.”

- Strength to Love, pages 50-51
© 1963 Martin Luther King, Jr.
© 2010 Fortress Press edition

“The Tactic of Nonviolence is a Tactic of Love” – Thomas Merton

ConjecturesMertonMy wife recently attended a leader’s conference in New York City in which Thomas Merton’s writings played an unexpected, serendipitous role.

The conference host shared with his audience this quote from Merton’s book Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, page 86:

Douglas Steere remarks very perceptively that there is a pervasive form of contemporary violence to which the idealist fighting for peace by nonviolent methods most easily succumbs: activism and overwork. The rush and pressure of modern life are on a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone is to succumb to violence. More than that, it is cooperation in violence The frenzy of the activist neutralizes his work for peace. It destroys his own inner capacity for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of his own work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.

I turned to that page in the book this morning, and began reading.

And I found something even more serendipitous, given Continue reading

The Trap Of “But What About…?”

LarrySelfPortrait2-copy-copyOne of the most common responses we hear/read during a discussion about love is the almost universal rebuttal, “But what about…?”

As in, “But what about…

…Radical Islam?

…Bigots?

…Mean-spirited Christians?

…Bitter atheists?

…Jesus getting angry and turning over the tables in the temple?

…The thief who breaks into your home?

…Injustice?

…The fact that the Bible never tells us to be “nice” or “doormats”?

…Trump?

…Obama?

…Republicans?

…Democrats?

…Liberals?

…Conservatives?

…[fill in the blank with anything and everything]?

What I don’t understand about “But what about…?” is Continue reading

“Compassion and love should be the primary motivation behind most everything we do” – Ulf Zick

The Only Love Project’s Bill Murphy (BM) conducted this interview with Ulf Zick (UZ) via phone earlier this summer. What follows is a brief but remarkably authentic, heartfelt conversation. Enjoy!

NOTE: “Ulf” is pronounced like the “o” in “wolf,” not like the “u” in “gulf.”

BM: Briefly tell us your background. What would you like others to know about you?

2013-05-25 10.30.48_SnapseedUZ: Well, I guess the most important thing is I have always loved music. My mother’s side of the family comes from a very sort of artistic background. My grandfather was a musician. My mom was a musician and a music teacher, so, you know, ever since I was young I was sort of fascinated by it and I started playing drums when I was like eight years old and started playing guitar when I was 11. That’s been sort of the thing I always felt comfortable with, and then I got fascinated with sort of the business side of it, and I had a job as a guitar salesman and guitar teacher from like age 14. After that I started working in a record store, did all that kind of stuff. I started booking concerts like basically when I was like 18 or 19 years old, and that’s just continued to go on.

Then at some point I moved to Berlin, and went to University, but continued to do this stuff. I got an internship at a PR firm. I really loved that. I felt I had a sort of good way of connecting with people over the phone and in person, so this PR thing was sort of a natural evolution from that. Then I started my own PR firm and booking agency and continued to do that, and then I started my own record label when I was 24, continued doing that. Then at some point, you know, the music industry wasn’t exactly getting easier in terms of the recorded side of music so I was kind of like what should I do. Then I got hired to work for Gibson Guitar in their entertainment relations department – which, you know, I was there for a good number of years. I think seven years total. I always stayed in touch with the whole music industry side on the other hand, you know, with my partner; did artist management and consulting for a number of artists.

Reinhard Zick-2Then I quit working for Gibson. I worked for Apogee Electronics for a year as executive consultant to the CEO which was a lot of fun, really different sort of business model but really rewarding, but during that time I started working for Spotify which in the beginning was a consultancy and then evolved into a full-time gig, and I feel we are really like sort of changing the world of music in a good way. I think we are enabling people to find music and listen to music in a better way than ever before, and I think we are also monetizing the industry really fairly. I think there is obviously challenges in how that trickles down to the artist, but, yeah, that kind of works out.

Right now I am traveling a lot. I get to hang out with great people, have great people on my team, and basically I would say Continue reading