In one of my online groups someone was talking about how love was translated as "charity" in the King James Version of the Bible and mentioned how that concept seemed appropriate and should have applied to gays being allowed to stay in the military if they are out. This was my response this morning even before I had my tea...
I met a man the other evening at a PFLAG meeting - a straight hetero male - who was a commander of a lot of the Gay men and women that came into his branch of the service - I can't remember which - anyway, he sought them out for his unit. He said that they were the best and most dedicated and focused people in that service. Because of that he now is a big ally to the GLBT community in Riverside. The Military and our workplaces gain so much by accepting gays and transgender and others into their ranks, but they are short-sighted and slow to change their ways and adopting charitable policies would help them with that.
Sometimes the old 1600's English is a more honest language - at least it was rich and colorful. I agree that charity is a beneficial translation for love in many places, but it is not the only concept contained in the word love. Take all the concepts together and it becomes very powerful. But the word love taken at face value today in the English language does not show that power. Love is a very contextual concept and what one does with it varies greatly depending on circumstance.
In the original Greek of Scripture there are 3 words that directly translated into english simply as "love" in most common translations of the Bible: Eros - erotic/sexual love, Phileo - brotherly love (for example the word Philharmonic means the love of harmony and so orchestras are often called philharmonic orchestras), and Agape - is the all inclusive, unconditional love God has for all of his created ones - God is Agape. English simply crams all these meanings into one little word and that trivializing of it very much changes the tone of much in scripture and often corrupts communication between people who happen to not understand all that the word actually means.
I am glad that Paul went into such detail about what love meant when it is put into action - when it becomes a verb. (It is kind, patient, giving, hoping all things, enduring all things without giving up...) Love is something one does as much or more than what one feels but that aspect is seldom taught. Love without that concept becomes something fleeting and vaporlike, fickle or at least non-committal and often just beyond reach; it has become something we trifle with or chase like a drug addict chases "the sack" and that is very sad. Some go so far as to use the concept so as to exclude folk - fundamentalists of many faiths have done so for generations saying "we love everybody, but those people are different and are not allowed to experience it".
Love is a passionate and steamy kind of thing (given the right circumstances) , but it is also the thing that attracts us and binds us together as a people and draws us into friendships that endure adversity, and it truly demands that we reach out to comfort and strengthen others, especially those that are different than us or very troubled and it includes those that are traditionally counted as society's cast-offs - it builds bridges not walls!
I saw love in action in another TG group I am in as one gal was so depressed and alone that she tried to suicide - people went out of their way to find her neighbors and relatives and call them and her local Police to go intervene. She is OK now because love was put into action.
If one believes this way and adopts it as a lifestyle it changes them and the world around them. People like Mother Theresa, Ghandi, M.L. King, Abraham Lincoln lived by this code and it shows clearly in what they did and what they have done endures to this day! Therefore those that understand love can and do make a difference in our world - it drives them out into the world to do so.
Hugs and Blessings,