“I think love is the only answer.” – E . Glenn Hinson [Part Two]

The Only Love Project’s Bill Murphy [BM] and his wife Beth spent an extraordinary two-and-a-half hours on May 5th, 2016, with E. Glenn Hinson [GH]. After introductions and a trading of hellos from mutual friends, we settled in Glenn’s impressive home library for a conversation that ranged far and wide – and was never less than fascinating. What follows is what transpired.

NOTE: Because of the length of this interview, we published Part One on July 6, 2016. This, Part Two, is the second and last installment. To help give Part Two context, I picked up two questions from the end of Part One.


BillGlennLibraryGH: This is what Thomas Merton saw as the way we can have interfaith relationships, the way Christians can relate to Muslims and Buddhists and Hindus and Taoists and people of all faiths. This is his comment that he made on his trip to Asia, and you find it in the Asian journal. It was a speech that he prepared actually about interfaith relations that was never given, but he talked about not avoiding issues that may be raised but may be pertinent to the monastic order like the Trappists. On the other hand, we must recognize that we have to go beyond words and thoughts.

BM: Uh-huh.

GH: That is I think the same thing John Woolman saw – where we are going to do something that is beyond words. You have to have a faith that maybe a lot of people would not understand. We can talk not only on a pre-verbal, but also on a post-verbal level. We can relate to people of other faiths beyond the level of words. Merton thought monks might especially contribute there, and his meeting with the Dalai Lama was about that where they communicated beyond words or thoughts.

The Dalai Lama has spoken about it where he and Merton seemed to communicate far beyond just discussing ideas and thoughts. I think that’s in a realm where love functions; that it is beyond words and thoughts. You know it takes patience in a person’s –

I can remember one time when Martha and I were courting 60 years ago that she would say, “I was just about to think that.” There were subtleties about that that takes place. I don’t know what to say about the wars that we are in now. It tears my heart out to see this, the violence, the bombing. The level to which we have developed modern warfare which takes the lives of innocents. Every June I have to think again about Hiroshima and Nagasaki – 200,000 lives wiped out with the dropping of two bombs. I don’t know. There is something – we have to find a way beyond this. The only way I can see beyond it is love, God love, a love that is able to reach beyond words and thoughts.

BM: This would be an excellent time to ask you, Who do you look up to the most when you think of the power of love?

GlennPartTwoJGH: Well, I think we have a wonderful example in Archbishop Tutu, helping South Africans get beyond the retribution and to practice forgiveness. I have followed him teaching at the Emory University after I retired, and I could see a profound impression he made on students there. I think Dorothy Day exemplified (Was it Dorothy Day or Catherine DeHueck Dougherty?) who got ready to bed down in one of their houses for the night. A syphilitic woman came in with open sores, running sores. They didn’t have room, but Dorothy Day, I think it was, said she can sleep with me. You know, syphilis is contagious, and she could have contracted it. I have thought about that so often. She lived love. It just astonishes me how superficial I am every time I think about it. I think how far I have been from someone like that.

Martin Luther King, Jr. implemented something. He got much of it from Continue reading

What Love Can Do

There’s a lot going on in the world these days. So much death and destruction. So much heartache and sadness.

Remember: the focus of The Only Love Project is our communities. Our homes. Ourselves.

We cannot do anything about what’s happening in the Middle East. We cannot alter the course of events in Eastern Europe. We cannot stop poachers from slaughtering elephants in Africa. We cannot, for the most part, bridge the bitter divides among those holding strong political viewpoints.

The list of what we cannot do is massive. Overwhelming, in fact.

But if we fall prey to that kind of thinking, our ability to love each other, to have a positive affect on who and what we CAN change, will be seriously diminished.

The Dhammapda says, “Only love dispels hate.”

The Bible (1 Corinthians 13) says, “…the greatest of these is love.”

Believe it.

Believe it fervently.

We have the most powerful force on earth within us: Love.

And we have Continue reading

“You Will Know Them By Their Fruits”

bowl-of-fruit-1857One of the most often-used phrases in the Christian tradition is, “You will know them by their fruits,” which is found in the Book of Matthew:

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.” (Matthew 7:15-20, NKJV)

Usually, the occasion for using the phrase is assessing what a person does, what his or her deeds are.

In other words, a person’s works.

Why? To know if someone is a true follower of Jesus or not. “Good” fruits indicates an affirmative answer. “Bad” fruit indicates the person is likely not a true follower, or has backslidden.

However, there’s a hook in applying the verse that way: it requires making a judgment.

For example, by what standard are a person’s deeds or works determined to be good or bad? Saying the Bible is one’s standard is fine, except…

Does one use a Catholic interpretation? A Baptist one? A Presbyterian one? A Charismatic one? Which Bible translation provides the standard? King James? New King James? New International Version? English Standard Version? New American Standard version? How about a paraphrase like The Message? Or the Phillips Translation?

Are the standards to judge “good” fruit from “bad” derived from a literal interpretation of the Bible? Or a more relaxed, perhaps even mystical, interpretation?

Do they depend on the region of the United States in which one lives? For example, those who live in the Bible Belt might have a different set of standards by which to judge one’s “fruits” than people who live in, say, Boston, Seattle, Los Angeles – or Peoria, for that matter.

Are the standards consistently applied? Are they applied without taint from Continue reading