In this episode, listen to a recording of The Leadership Center’s December Praxis event titled “The Praxis of Love: A Community Conversation on All About Love by bell hooks”. Panelists include Rev. Dr. Jessica Chapman Lape, Dr. Todd Lawrence and Rosy Petri.
Youtube Recording of the Praxis of Love Event
CSpan Video featuring bell hooks
Episode Transcription available here
Host: Ry O. Siggelkow
Producer: Adam Pfuhl
Podcast Engineer: Michael Moua
Music: Kavyesh Kaviraj
Episode Recorded on December 2, 2022
You can find out more about the Leadership Center for Social Justice on our website and on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Ry Siggelkow [00:00:22] Well, hello. Welcome, everyone. It's good to see people in the flesh. I hope you were able to. To get a glass of wine or a cup of coffee if you're like me, unwisely drinking coffee this late at night. And it's great to see everybody online. My name is Ry Siggelkow and I am the director of the Leadership Center for Social Justice at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities. It's my pleasure to welcome you to this special event in honor of the first anniversary of the death of the late Gloria Watkins or bell hooks, as she was known to many around the world. We hope that many of you will have had the opportunity to read All About Love: New Visions. But if you haven't, that's quite all right. Perhaps our conversation this evening will inspire you to read the book. Or perhaps more importantly, our conversation tonight will inspire you to reflect on what love is, its significance in the struggle for social justice, and especially what it might mean for you to practice love in the context of your life. So I want to say upfront that we do not intend this to be a merely academic conversation about bell hooks. The point of this evening is not merely to reflect on what bell hooks thought about love and leave it there, going on with our lives as before. But to challenge ourselves to critically reflect on how we might more fully practice love in the concreteness of our everyday lives. The Leadership Center for Social Justice recently launched this September, thanks to the generosity of the Lilly Endowment. Our center offers a nine month continuing education program developed for faith leaders who are seeking to deepen their ministries and social justice. If you are interested in learning more about this program for yourself, if you're a minister or if you would like to share it with a minister or pastor, you know, please follow the link in the chat, which I think Stella will be sharing in a minute. In addition to this program for faith leaders, the center will be hosting community events and panels like this one. This is our first. We are also very excited to announce that we are soon launching a podcast later this month which will feature conversations with leading scholars and organizers from all around the world who are addressing a range of urgent social issues. To stay up to date on our latest events and offerings, please follow us on social media. I'm trying to get people to follow us on Instagram and Facebook and Twitter, even though I'm not on Facebook and Twitter. But I encourage you, those of you who are. Please do follow us. And this, you know, is a great way to stay up to date with what's going on. We also just released our first newsletter, so if you'd like to take a look at that. Those newsletters will be coming out on a quarterly basis, and they'll include reflections on what's happening in the world around us and also some updates on what's happening with our pastors in their program. Finally, this is the first of three events in a series we have scheduled at the Leadership Center for Social Justice on Faith, Hope and Love. Our series is focused not so much on faith, hope and love as abstract ideas or objects that we might have or not have. But on faith, hope and love is that which is to be lived and embodied concretely and practically in our world. So we're calling this the Praxis Series. Our next event will be focused on the praxis of hope and will feature an interactive workshop with the local artist Ricardo Levins Morales on the evening of Wednesday, February 15th. And that will be hybrid as well. You can register for that either online or to come in person. Finally, the evening of Wednesday, March 15th, we will be hosting a panel with scholars on the praxis of faith, reflecting on the life and legacy of the black liberation theologian James Cone, who was arguably the most important theologian of the last century. So I would invite you to attend those. So why love? Why love first? You might be asking. Shouldn't it be faith? Well, in his letter to the Corinthians, Paul wrote about how, out of all the gifts that have been given to us on this planet, the most significant, the most important are the gifts of faith, hope and love. And he said the greatest of these is love. So we begin our series with love because it is the greatest of the three. But you might be asking as well, what does love have to do with social justice? Isn't love a little too sentimental, too soft? Is it not the case that talk of love simply covers up or covers over existing injustice and social divisions? I think while it's true, no doubt, that sentimentality and talk of love can be cheap in our culture. In fact, on the way here, I was driving up Highway 94 westward, and I look up to the right and there's this great big billboard that says Love in capital letters. I thought, well, that's good timing. And then underneath it, it was it was an advertisement for a jeweler, a jeweler to buy jewelry. Right. So I was like, that's the sentimentality. It's a commodification of love. But I'm convinced that love is a path. Love as a practice is that which binds us to one another and to life is a deeply powerful reality. Indeed, I believe love lies at the very root of justice. And bell hooks believed this too. She believed in the radical possibilities that emerge when we take the risk of love. And if you think about it, at the heart of so many struggles for justice in our world is the struggle for love. Or as the Brazilian educator Paulo Freire once put it, "it's the struggle for a world in which it is easier for us to love". And right now in this dire moment, I don't think we can afford to lose track of what it is that we're fighting for. We're living in apocalyptic times when fear and dread and cynicism is the order of the day. At times, it seems like everywhere we turn, we see another assault on life. And it's easy for us, at least it's easy for me to feel completely overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of injustice, the magnitude of hatred, the magnitude of the destruction of our earth. And it's easy for us, at least it's easy for me to despair. To close down, to close up, to focus on what's mine, to that which is closest around me, to hold things even tighter. So why do we continue the fight for social justice? What are we fighting for? Perhaps love is what makes us fight. Perhaps love is not something on the far side of justice. Perhaps love is the heart of justice. We might even say that love is rather the means by which justice is enacted. And love creates more love. That's a great thing that new worlds are born. New ways of living and caring, creating and relating. Social justice is forged through the power of love. In addition to Paul, there are many other witnesses to this truth, I think, including Martin Luther King, Oscar Romero, James Baldwin, June Jordan, Audre Lorde, and of course, the great bell hooks. hooks, having been shaped by this tradition, was committed to the idea that love. Is a form of revolutionary praxis. That the work of solidarity in the struggle for a just world must be rooted in love, love of others, love of self, and a love of life itself. But what is this thing we called love? We all have different ideas about it. We all have different experiences of love or the absence of love. So we thought, let's have a conversation about love. And who better to think with than bell hooks? Before I introduce our panelists this evening, I want us to watch a clip that gives us some background into the life and legacy of bell hooks. This is from PBS. And it's a brief interview with Imani Perry, who is a professor at Princeton University.
Reporter 1 [00:11:34] Age of 69. She was at home surrounded by friends and family. Amna is back with a look at her work and her legacy.
Reporter 2 [00:11:43] Born Gloria Jean Watkins. bell hooks grew up in segregated Kentucky in the 1950s and sixties, the daughter of a janitor and a maid hooks left home to attend Stanford University, where she earned an English degree. She went on to earn a Ph.D. and then authored more than 30 works under her pen name, which was taken from her great grandmother. Her prolific writing spanned poetry, essays and children's books, examining the intersection of race, politics and gender, and making her one of the most influential black feminist scholars of the last half century. In 2004, hooks returned to Kentucky to teach at Berea College and later founded the bell hooks Institute there. Here to talk more about her life and its impact is Imani Perry. She's the Hughes Rogers professor of African American studies at Princeton University. Professor Perry, welcome to The NewsHour. Thank you for making the time. Thank you for having me. You reacted to the passing of bell hooks on Twitter by sharing this thought you wrote "For exactly 30 years she was not only an intellectual influence, but a presence in my life". Professor Perry, tell us about the impact that Bell Hooks had on you.
Imani Perry [00:12:56] Well I met her when I was 19 years old. I was an intern at South Bend Press, where she published much of her work, and she was a teacher to her core, even though I didn't have her in the classroom. She brought ideas alive. She is a person who bridged the space between, you know, high critical theory European scholars and intellectuals, Marxist thinkers and everyday life. And she wrote and spoke in a way to make all of that theory applicable to our daily lives. And also, she wanted it to bear upon the way we thought of each other ethically, our relationships, our personal stories. So she was both an intellectual and she was also a kind of, I don't know, a curator, like a person who tended to souls as an educator. And so to be brought under her wing as a teenager was incredibly influential. It allowed me to imagine how to live a life of the mind, but also how to pursue right relation to other human beings in my midst.
Reporter 2 [00:14:03] So as we mentioned, she was born Gloria Jean Watkins. She took the pen name, bell hooks, which was her great grandmother's name. What do we know about why she took that name and why all lowercase when she used it?
Imani Perry [00:14:16] Yeah. I mean, it was consistent with leftist organizers of the era to think of one the individual and the lower case that one spoke in the collective. So her name was both an homage to her great grandmother and the women who came before, but also with a kind of humility to choose the lower case. And, you know, she was very much I mean, she traveled the world. She had a massive influence. She was a southern country woman to her core. And she'd never lost touch with that, you know, it was and so there was a kind of intimacy with that identity that she held on to through her pen name, as it were. But I always called her Gloria.
Reporter 2 [00:15:00] And she mentioned those Southern roots growing up at the intersection of racism and sexism. I mean, she actually spoke about it in this 2016 talk at Saint Norbert College in Wisconsin. Take a listen to what she said.
bell hooks [00:15:11] I think that many of us as females find sexism is so normalized, whereas people of color, black, brown, whatever. When we hear a racist joke or racism spoken not as a joke, we really feel assaulted in our sensibilities. But sexism is such a woven into the fabric of our daily lives that I think it's harder for people to resist.
Reporter 2 [00:15:42] Professor Perry, how did that lived experience show up in her work?
Imani Perry [00:15:46] Well, she you know, she told a lot of stories from her own life. You know, she in many ways was an open book. She allowed herself to be vulnerable. And she contemplated this so the way that she engaged with people. And she was outspoken and she could be really challenging was to open that up, to explore those questions of internalized sexism, internalized classism and how do we love each other. I mean so that kind of exploration was I mean, that was consistent with who she was. And for me, it allowed me to think all of the the sort of academic things I was pursuing. They boiled down at it to the very core about how we are going to live and how we're going to coexist on this planet. I mean, that's who she was.
Reporter 2 [00:16:35] It has been four decades since her first full length book, Ain't I a Woman, was published. And you have to note that a lot of the ideas she brought up back then about black women and feminism and white feminism and the intersection of race and sex and all of these things, we're still talking about those things and grappling with them today. What do you think a legacy of those ideas that she raised four decades ago is today?
Imani Perry [00:16:57] Well, I think her legacy is enormous. And part of this incredible body of work that she created, the legacy that's found is there's so many young people. The first time they start to think seriously about class, about sexuality, about gender, about identity, about vulnerability, about spirituality is through her work, you know, her work has never gone out of press that Ain't I a Woman, you can still purchase. And so the legacy is actually in all of us who have been influenced by her work, not just in academia, in every sector of the society and organizing and nonprofit worlds and corporate America. And so, I mean, it really has. She has shaped several generations of thinkers and of people who are members of communities. And so I hope that at this moment it becomes a time for us to reflect on how much she helped us think, how much she helped us grow right, and how she pushed the world closer to justice.
Reporter 2 [00:17:53] An incredible life and an enormous loss. Professor Imani Perry, Hughes Rogers professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, thank you so much for joining us.
Imani Perry [00:18:04] Thank you.
Ry Siggelkow [00:18:08] Okay. So what I want to do now is to introduce our panelists for this evening, and then our panelists will share a bit about their experiences of reading this book and some of their reflections on love. But we will also be opening things up in a sort of what we're hoping will become a flipped panel. So our panelists will be posing some questions for you all to consider for our collective conversation. To my left is the Reverend Dr. Jessica Chapman Lape, who is a womanist pastoral theologian here at United Theological Seminary, a clinically trained chaplain and a community trained doula. In 2021, Chapman Lape received her Ph.D. in practical theology from Claremont School of Theology, where she earned the school's prestigious Presidential Award for academic excellence. Her dissertation “MissTreated: A Clinical Pastoral Theology on the Mistreatment of African American Women in U.S. Healthcare”, researches and discusses black women's perception of their mistreatment in U.S. health care. With scholarship that encompasses womanist pastoral theology, clinical pastoral care and health care research, Chapman Lape is committed to advancing the field of pastoral theology and clinical pastoral care to include the profession of black indigenous birth work in order to address and interrupt black women's mistreatment in the United States health care. And to the left of Dr. Chapman Lape is Dr. Todd Lawrence, who is the associate professor and director of graduate programs in the Department of English at the University of Saint Thomas, right over here in Saint Paul. Just well, we're in Saint Paul, so not too far from here. Todd teaches African-American literature and expressive culture, folklore studies and cultural studies. His writing has appeared in the Journal of American Folklore, Southern Folklore, the Griot, Open Rivers and the New Territory. His book, When They Blew the Levee: Race, Politics and Community in Pinhook, Missouri, published in 2018 and coauthored with Elaine Lawless, is an ethnographic project done in collaboration with residents of Pinhook, Missouri, an African American town destroyed during the Mississippi River flood of 2011. It's a remarkable book. He also co-directs the Urban Art Mapping Project with Heather Shirey and Paul Lorah. Grateful to have you both here. And finally, Rosy Petri, who is on Zoom. You can see Rosy waving there. Rosy is zooming in from Milwaukee. She is a mother, self-taught artist and storyteller from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Her multi-disciplinary works fuse fabric portraiture, multimedia storytelling and illustration as an act of witness. In 2021, Petri served as the inaugural artist in residence at the bell hooks Center at Berea College in Kentucky. In 2020, she was selected as a Mary L Nohl Emerging Artist and a Mildred L. Harpole Artist of the Year from the City of Milwaukee Arts Board. In 2019, as the 11th Pfister artist in residence, Petri created a space to celebrate creative traditions of the African diaspora. Petri was a Milwaukee Artist Resource Network mentee under artist Della Wells. Her work can be viewed in several prestigious collections, including the bell hooks Center at Berea College, the Pfister Hotel, Hunger Task Force, Northwestern Mutual's Giving Gallery, African American Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin and the Milwaukee County Courthouse. She is currently a member of the Milwaukee Artist Resource Network, Women of Color Quilters Network and a board member of the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts and Fiber Arts. And you can learn more about Rosy's work, beautiful artwork on her website. Before we get into our panel conversation now, I thought it might be nice to hear from bell hooks herself. I wish I could say she was with us in the flesh, but a short video will have to do. But this is an incredible clip from September 23rd, 2000. In which bell hooks is participating in a community conversation just like this at a library in Harlem. And the focus of the book. The focus of the conversation was all about love. So we're going to listen to her speak in this Harlem library.
bell hooks [00:23:39] I'm always happy to be in Harlem because like so many other African American writers, so many of the people who inspired me when I first started, you know, learning about African-American writers as a girl were writing about Harlem. And it's always meaningful to be in here in Harlem talking about writing. I have to just say a little of my favorite Langston Hughes poem, because it always ends with that whole thing about Harlem." I said to my baby, baby, take it slow. He said, I can't. I can't. I got to go. A lot of traveling to a dream deferred. Lulu said to Leonard, and I want a diamond ring. Leonard said to Lulu, You won't get a goddamn thing. A certain amount of nothing in a dream deferred. Daddy, Daddy, Daddy. All I want is you. You can have me, baby- but my lovin' days is through. Three parties on my party line. But that third party, Lord, ain't mine!" That whole sense that Langston Hughes brought to black vernacular that influenced me as a writer. That sense of the beauty and magic of our vernacular speech, our everyday speech, that sense of contrasting it with standard English. "Three parties on my party line. But that third party Lord ain't mine", and then he has that line where he says "there's bound to be confusion in a dream deferred". Going on to say "you act like they don't kick dreams around downtown. But he says, I'm talking about Harlem to you". So I'm happy to be here in Harlem talking about the subject that's dominating my intellectual thoughts, my personal life is thinking about love. And I wrote All About Love as I had been on this search for love. As many of you know, my birthday is Monday. And thank you. And just thinking about that, the whole sort of place of love in our culture and talking to people and, you know, hearing people's stories, hearing their heartache and their joys and a lot of that influenced All About Love. I love these library events that are small because we have such a chance to talk with each other here. I'm just going to read a little bit. I'm writing this trilogy of books about love and All About Love: New Visions was the first book in the trilogy, and the second one, which I'm going to read just a snippet from today. It's called Salvation: Black People in Love. And the third one will come out some time from now. But I'm even writing my next children's book. It's about love. It's called Homemade Love because as you'll hear me read about, one of the things that I found as I talked about love, was that children, and particularly African-American children, were often very cynical about the place of love in their lives. And that was so difficult to hear. And when people when children would say to me, I don't think love exists. And so I think it's interesting, too, that we don't think of children as often in this culture, which is so anti-child as thinking deeply. But children think very deeply about love. And I know I did as a child, and I'm going to just read that first opening to All About Love. And then the second part From salvation. "When I was a child, it was clear to me that life was not worth living if we didn't know love. I wish I could testify that I came to this awareness because of the love I felt in my life. But it was love's absence that let me know how much love mattered. I was my father's first daughter. At the moment of my birth, I was looked upon with loving kindness, cherished and made to feel wanted on this earth and in my home. To this day, I can't remember when that feeling of being loved left me. I just know that one day I was no longer precious. Those who had initially loved me well, turned away. The absence of their recognition and regard pierced my heart and left me with a feeling of broken heartedness so profound that I was spellbound. Grief and sadness overwhelmed me. I didn't know what I had done wrong, and nothing I tried made it right. No other connection healed the hurt of that first abandonment, that first banishment from love's paradise. For years, I live my life suspended, trapped by the past, unable to move into the future. Like every wounded child, I just wanted to turn back time and be in that paradise again. In that moment of remembered rapture. Where I felt loved. Where I felt a sense of belonging. We can never go back. I know that now. We can go forward. We can find the heart, the love our hearts longed for. But not until we let go grief about the love we lost long ago when we were little and had no voice to speak the heart's longing. All the years of my life, I thought I was searching for love. I found retrospectively to be years when I was simply trying to recover what had been lost. To return to the first home. To get back the rapture of first love. I was not really ready to be loved or to love in the present. I was still mourning, clinging to the broken heart of girlhood, to broken connections. When that mourning ceased, I was able to love again. I awakened from my trance state and was stunned to find that the world I was living in the world of the present was no longer open to love". So that's the beginning of All About Love. And there are some seats up here.
Ry Siggelkow [00:30:04] She went on to tell them that there are some seats up here they can sit down. And I love the image of the shot of the people in the library, their faces. So the first question that I have for for our group is really drawn from our first meeting when we first met to talk together about what this panel might look like. You each shared with me about the powerful, visceral impact this book was having on you as you were reading it. I wonder if we could begin by having each of you share about your experiences of reading this book All About Love. Whoever wants to begin first can begin.
Todd Lawrence [00:31:05] Well, maybe I'll go first. And so I have read a lot of bell hooks in my life, but I had never read this book. And I think, you know, the way that I kind of came to bell hooks was through her writing about culture, mostly, books like Black Looks Like those books were really important to me. And this book is, is different. I really had a strong reaction to this book. Like, emotionally, it felt like it was speaking a lot to me and my own personal life, I think. And actually, I was just thinking, you know, when I was watching the video just now, I kind of was almost overwhelmed with emotion as I almost burst out into tears. So and I think that would have been okay, but I didn't want to in this public place. But I think that would have been fine. But yeah, I think this book really got me to think a lot about love of my own life, love of my relationship with my partner, love of my family. I recently turned 50 years old. And, you know how on Facebook, you know, where everybody wishes you happy birthday, you know? And this year, like, it felt like sometimes I'm like I just push this button and happy birthday. But this year it felt really like people were sending me love. And I thought, you know, there's not a whole lot that I like about Facebook, but one of the things I like about it is this opportunity to share love with each other and to make each other feel love for each other, you know? And I think about, you know, I hope that everybody is just coming from celebrating with their families over the holiday and feeling love in that space. I mean, I know not everyone it's not easy all the time to be with family and not everyone's family is easy to, you know, negotiate their issues there. But for me, I really felt like surrounded by love, you know, to go home to Kansas City where my my home is, where my mommy is. And I went home to my mom and my family and felt surrounded by love. So, you know, this book had me really thinking about love as opposed to just feeling it or just like having it be there. And you don't think about it, right? So love is like we talk about love all the time. You hear that word like you said, you see it on a billboard. We talk about it, you say it all the time. I love this. I love football. I love this. You know, and I don't think we take enough time to think about what love actually is and what it actually means in our lives. And this book really, like, slowed me down. I mean, how many chapters are in this? Like, 20 times is a ton of chapters in this book, each on one kind of aspect of love. And I would be like I was like halfway through. I'm like, How much more can you say about love? I mean, and then I read the next chapter of that. Oh, okay. Yeah, you're right. You know, and right up to the very end, every chapter just made me think more deeply about love. And the thing that there are tons of things that blow me over. But the thing that struck me the most was, you know, where I mention this, that love is something that we do. It's not something that we feel. And I hadn't really thought about that. Love is something that you do. Love is an action, you know, and that makes a difference when you think about it that way as opposed to like, I feel in love, you know, but what are you doing? What does love do? What do you do to to manifest love? You know? So it got me to thinking about that. And for me, it's been the way that I think she wants us to think about love as a transformative force. Reading the book has been transformative.
Jessica Chapman Lape [00:35:09] First, I want to say thank you for the invitation to being on this panel. And this was my first time reading All About Love as well. And I was introduced to bell hooks originally through her texts, Teaching to Transgress and her work in pedagogy and what that means as a black feminist woman to be teaching in these predominantly white spaces and I was inspired by her work from there and used bell hooks last year right before her death, actually in my classroom, and received wonderful feedback from students about their introduction to bell hooks. And so I was privileged to read this text. So I am a new mother and actually a new wife, too. Married for just a little over two years now and then we welcomed our first son seven months ago, and I found myself often reading this text while holding my son while he was sleeping. And that was powerful for me in so many ways. So in my new role within this family that I have created, that I've birthed, I am learning so much about love, so much about what unconditional love is, what it feels like to be loved, what it feels like to love, love as an action. And this text has just transformed, shored up and complicated my understanding of love for myself, for the ways in which I show up in my family system, for the ways in which I show up in the world as a caregiver, as a pastoral care giver. Yeah, it was it was it was powerful to read. It was powerful to read and I considered not only my role as a mother who is loving. But then how do I teach my son to love? How do I teach future generations to love? And it also allowed me to think back on my mothering ancestors. And how have they taught to love? And so it was just a phenomenal read. And I thought of bell hooks as a philosopher, as a prophet, and just as an overall guide and to this concept of love. And I appreciated the work.
Rosy Petri [00:37:56] Hey, y'all. Okay. Good. It works. Okay. Thanks for having me. I'm really excited to be on a panel with all of these ABCD PhDs in their respective. Like you all have some really cool specialty areas and like I'm really excited. I first got introduced to the work of bell hooks when I was in high school by a friend. Somebody gave me Real to Real and I started reading it. I never had seen anything like it. I had never experienced anything like it. I don't know if it stuck, but I didn't forget that I experienced it. And I don't think I really settled into bell hooks until I started reading some of her writing on writing. I hadn't read "all about love" yet when we discussed having the panel. But I had read Wounds of Passion most recently, and I'd been talking with it about it with a friend, and the friend had actually recently lost a sibling. So we were kind of in this grief sharing, writing, discussion piece about what this work meant. And we started going back and forth about All About Love and about the other more literary stuff. And I think for me, the thing that was most important about bell hooks is just how extraordinarily ordinary she seemed to make everything. And how accessible the language was regardless of like, there's a lot there's a lot of material to cover. And you can find something for yourself that resonates with you and leave the rest. But also just to see the way that she synthesized so many concepts as well as like spiritual and social ideas into these very approachable, almost proverbs. So I'm really excited to talk with yall about this.
Ry Siggelkow [00:40:10] Thanks. I want to talk about the first chapter of this book. Which is really about clarity, about what do we mean when we say this word love? What is love? Defining love. And the way that she sort of gets at this is to talk about her own childhood. And then she borrows from the psychiatrist, Scott Peck. In fact, this whole book, she draws on surprisingly many white men. Which I do take as a kind of. There is a kind of purpose behind this. I'm not quite sure what it is that she's trying to communicate. But she found in his definition of love what she had been searching for when she was trying to search for a definition of love. And so I'm going to read it. She borrows from him by defining love as, quote, "the will to extend oneself for the purpose of nurturing one's own or another's spiritual growth". The will to extend oneself for the purpose of nurturing one's own or another's spiritual growth. Peck says "love is as love does". Love is an act of will. Namely both in intention and in action. Will also implies choice. We do not have to love. We choose to love. And I just wanted to read this passage from the book. This is from page five. If you brought your book or if you have your book near you. So she talks about being a child, she says, or witnessing the growing process of a child. "Everyone who has witnessed the growth process of a child from the moment of birth on sees clearly that before language is known, before the identity of caretakers is recognized, babies respond to affectionate care. Usually they respond with sounds or looks of pleasure. As they grow older, they respond to affectionate care by giving affection, cooing at the sight of a welcomed caretaker. Affection is only one ingredient of love. To truly love, we must learn to mix various ingredients, care, affection, recognition, respect, commitment and trust, as well as honest and open communication. Learning faulty definitions of love when we are quite young makes it difficult to be loving as we grow older, we start out committed to the right path, but go in the wrong direction. Most of us learn early on to think of love as a feeling. When we feel deeply drawn to someone, we Cathect with them. Cathect is the word, that is we invest feeling or emotion in them. That process of investment where in a loved one becomes important to us is called cathexis. In his book, Peck wryly emphasizes that most of us confuse cathecting with loving. We all know how often individuals feeling connected to someone through the process of cathecting insist that they love the other person even if they are hurting or neglecting them. Since their feeling is that of cathexis, they insist that what they feel is love. When we understand love is the will to nurture our own and another's spiritual growth, it becomes clear that we cannot claim to love if we are hurtful and abusive. Love and abuse cannot coexist". And I was telling the three of you earlier that when I've taught this to undergraduates, this book, that sentence always stands out as the most challenging sentence of the whole book. Love and abuse cannot coexist. So I suppose I wanted to ask you and the panel to reflect on her definition of love. Love is an act, not a feeling, not a cathexis. But as something of the will. And then this point then that she draws from that which is that love and abuse cannot coexist. So whoever wants to go first.
Todd Lawrence [00:45:16] You can tell I don't like silence. I get nervous whenever nobody's speaking. I'm sorry. Yeah, I can understand why your students would get hung up on that sentence. And it made me think about my own upbringing. And, you know, I came from a family where there was physical punishment. Right? Like. And I never considered it abuse, but I did question it. You know, like whenever your parent would say, you know, this is going to hurt me more than it hurts you, and I would be like, is it though? And, you know, I guess I bring that up to say that over time our relationship has so much changed. There was a point in time when, especially my relationship with my father when I was a child, was one of fear. And he called it respect. But it was really fear. And but now he's a small old man and there's no fear there anymore. And I think that the love has changed. A thing that we once called love has now changed into something that's more like love. That's more like vulnerability. Openness. Like it wasn't until I was really an adult that I actually had honest conversations with my father. And my mother, too, I think, you know. And so, I don't know, like I felt so much that later in life that our relationship with both of them is so much more rich. And I imagine I don't know that this is true or not, but I imagine if they were here, they would claim that, well, I loved you just as much when you were a child. In fact, I probably loved you more then. My mom would probably said that. Like you were more lovable then. But I just sort of feel like, you know, the relationship becomes more rich when there's this kind of, like, vulnerability on both sides. And, you know, I'm sort of curious, I'm not a parent. And you were talking about how you are a new parent. And I'm curious about how people who have children sort of think about being vulnerable to their children or in front of their children, you know, because in the definition that she uses, it's that, you know, sort of reaching out or opening up to another person. And I think about, you know, when there's fear or when you're afraid, you curl up. Like, I just seen something that read about a dog. When a dog is is comfortable with you, like they open up and show you their belly or something like that. Right? But for us to have love in between people, we have to like open up and be vulnerable and to reach out to them, which means that we're opening the soft parts of ourselves. And parents, I think, probably want to show their children that they're strong and that they'll take care of them. But how do you also sort of show them that vulnerable part of yourself? Is it like when your son is lying on your on your chest when you're holding him? I mean, I don't know. I'm sorry to mess it up and ask a question, but I wondered if you might speak to that. You know, and you don't have to speak to it now because I don't want to. But if you would like to. Oh, I don't know. I don't know about that. Is she. Is Rosy a mom? Oh.
Rosy Petri [00:49:13] I am.
Todd Lawrence [00:49:18] That question is for you too then.
Rosy Petri [00:49:23] I'll answer and respond to that as well as kind of like an add on. I think love is a practice. It is something that is like art. It is an ongoing, moving living action thing that you also contribute to. And when it comes to like really, really knowing about love, I feel lucky because I learned about true love for myself as a child from my dad. Like it was this unconditional forever kind of love. And like he was, he was scary to other people, but to me, I was like the center of the universe. And when he would talk to me if I needed correction, I didn't get spankings. I never got spankings. But he would, like, look me in the eyes and give me like the the face to face talk. And I would hear the sadness in his disappointment in me and like. That I knew was he loved me so much. He was sad that I was disappointing him. And that transformed into me becoming a parent and like figuring out how to talk with my kid when they're having. A difficult life experience. My kid is in sophomore year this year. And the experience of it is just like I feel closer to him and his experiences than I imagine myself to my parents and their experience of showing us love. But I want to make sure that in helping or correcting that I'm always remembering his person is at the center of it, and any way that I'm going to participate or contribute to that hopefully is something that is an investment in his heart and in his future and his well-being.
Jessica Chapman Lape [00:51:34] Yeah. I'm still new to parenting. So I don't know yet, I'm practicing that. My vision. My vision is to be vulnerable in all that I do and to demonstrate unconditional love. I think that's the piece that resonated with me most in this, especially in the opening chapter. This idea of this unconditionality of love and I think it's so often in relationships, whether that's family relationships or social relationships. Love is often conditional, and we don't really recognize that in a way when we're in the midst of those conditional relationships. But it's when you find that unconditional love that you're like, Oh, wow, this is different. And I think she speaks so well to that. And so for me, you know, as I embody, what I hope to embody is that unconditional love. In my family and my social relationships. So then to add on, I think, to Ry, what you're sharing. I really was struck as she defines love. She says, "to truly love, we must learn to mix various ingredients care, affection, recognition, respect, commitment and trust, as well as honest and open communication". I think that that's a beautiful recipe, to use her metaphor of how to show up with children where, again, with all relationships that were and that could be categorized as loving relationships. And I think to continue on with what you shared about abuse and love cannot coexist. I agree that I understand completely how that could be very difficult at a focus point for a lot of folks. And I think about, you know, in my context, in my scholarship and in my work of working with black women in particular, and I think in so many cases. What is experienced is not often thought of as abuse. So it comes with experience, with therapy, perhaps with the experience of something outside of what abuse looks like to look back and say, oh, wow, that was abuse, and therefore that could not be love. And so how then do we work with folks in communities, with folks in relationships that might be categorized as abusive, to demonstrate, you know, or how do we even work with folks before they become abusive relationships where they enter into those spaces to really define what abuse is. And I don't really even just mean, you know, intimate partner violence in particular, but this conditional love that is abusive in so many ways. How do we work to educate? To define what that is for people before they even enter into those spaces? I think that's the question that I've stuck with.
Ry Siggelkow [00:54:58] How about all of you, as you've been listening to these folks share about love? And so we've listened to bell hooks share about love. What's coming up for you? Anything in particular that you'd like to share? You can raise your hand. We can bring a microphone to you if you're in person. And if you're online, you can raise a virtual hand. All right. Well, we'll keep moving. You'll warm up, hopefully.
Audience Member [00:56:01] I think it is. Sorry. My name is Lydia. Interesting that she starts with childhood because it is the most vulnerable. And even in when she was talking in that video, she talks about her, when she was a child she was incredibly sensitive or had feelings and was a person. And I feel like in our society and she talked about that too, that children aren't treated like humans, like their own individuals. They are more so treated like belongings or projections of the family and children have the least amount of liberty and rights. They don't have choice like we would choose for like romantic relationship or friendships. They are just the choices that they have. They don't they don't have choices. And then oftentimes choices are made for them beyond the relationships that they are born into. And so I think it's interesting that and I think really vital that she starts with those who have the least liberty and the least freedom to discuss love and also who are most long term and like how we are all formed in our concept of love through the beginning of not having power. And I think in the chapter on Greed, I was trying to find it. But she also talks about power being a huge part of the abuse of love and the kind of negative of love.
Ry Siggelkow [00:57:46] Do we have a hand on the screen? Robert, would you like to share?
Audience Member [00:57:52] Yes. Hello. Hello? Hello. I have a question just related to just the formation of children and our definition of love as well. And skipping ahead. I just want to make sure to ask this question on page 134. There's a thought on children and friendship, and I don't know if you'll get here. So that's why I'm going to ask this. So page 134 says, "Many of us learn as children that friendships should never be seen as just as important as family ties. However, friendship is the place in which a great majority of us have our first glimpse of redemptive love and caring community". And I am curious as to thoughts on the panel of children, friendship and redemptive love. And it's also good to see you all.
Jessica Chapman Lape [00:59:23] Yes, thanks Robert, for sharing that that quote. I think it's in this section or somewhere where she notes that friends are who we choose. We are able to choose friendship or those whom we're in friendship. And I really I think that sticks out to me. As, you know, family is often we don't choose family, often times. And so we might find love in our family systems, or we might not. But friendships are those relationships that we can choose. We can choose to find and to harbor and to nurture. To cultivate relationships that are loving. And it embodies redemptive and caring communities. And I think for me personally, as thinking about childhood, it wasn't until I was in my adulthood that I found this type of friendship, this redemptive love, this caring community. Friends in my childhood, I think were more, we were doing things in the same spaces. So we became friends, maybe similar interests. So we became friends. But in my adulthood, it was it wasn't until I was in my late twenties when I met my best friend, and it was through them that I learned so much about love and that, again, this unconditional love. And so so I wonder, you know, the friendships that we build in our childhood, I think they prepare us for friendships in our adulthood. But I think it's this what I what I'm reading in this is the friendships that we build, particularly in our adulthood, have that power for redemptive love and caring community.
Todd Lawrence [01:01:21] I wonder. I was thinking, too, that, you know, it's sort of connected to what you said as well, is that, you know, children don't have aren't allowed to choose and they don't have as much power as adults have. But I was thinking with Robert's question that I as a child, I did have some like deep loving friendships. And then I think I was sort of taught that I was too young to have that kind of friendship, right? Like so I had these sort of like intense friendships and either maybe we moved away or, you know, I was sort of told, well, that person's not as important as your family or something like that. And then so I learned to have friendships in a different way. And I went for a long period of my life where I had friendships that were, I think, like cathectic friendships, right? Where it was about, you know, we're there for each other, we support each other, that sort of thing. But we don't ever share really with each other. And I sort of grew to think I didn't think this consciously, but I definitely felt it. That sort of love and emotions was for chumps. That as a man and this is another thing that I really love about this book is like as a person who's on a journey to try to like, you know, to free themselves from patriarchy and to be a full human being. This book showed me a lot and expressed a lot for me, articulated it in a way that I could understand that when you see it in the language, you know. That was really valuable for me because I started to realize, Yeah, that's why for such a long period of my life, I had friendship in this particular way. And then when I got to another period of my life where I started to have these different kinds of friendships, it felt weird to me that someone would like give me a gift for no particular reason or just like hug me. Like when I moved here like this 20 years ago, I didn't hug anyone, like, just like who wasn't my mom or something like that. And people were hugging me and I was like, This is weird. I can't like, don't touch me. I mean, I sort of felt like that, but it didn't take too long where I was like, hugging is good. Like hugging is being vulnerable with another person. And now I'm probably too much of a hugger. Like, I have to like, you know, sort of hold myself back from hugging people and the friendships that I had made that, that previously. You know, I have five best friends from high school. Really we met when we were in sixth grade. We've been friends. I see them every year. For a long time, our friendship was like a friendship without really emotion. Maybe if we had too much to drink, we would like express motion in a manly way. Like, I love you, man, that sort of thing. But now, as we're older, as they have families, as we have other relationships, as we're learning that the benefit of love, that redemptive quality, that generative quality, that way that love, if you give, gives back to you, that we've brought it to that that friendship as well. And I'm learning that the friendships that I thought were, you know, so great for all this time could be even better if there was real, like, vulnerability sharing and reaching out, right? Like opening up. So for people I've been friends with for 35 years or whatever, I'm starting to really be even closer to now because of the kind of love that she's talking about in this book.
Audience Member [01:05:09] I'm really interested in the emergence of agency in this book. Talk about children, the lack of civil rights. We talk about the spate of lying, how patriarchy requires men to lie, women to lie. And so it seems quite reactive in that regard. And so I wonder what it is that prompts one toward the kind of deliberate agency and in deciding how it is that they will live toward and with others. What is the prompt, the nudge, the awareness that comes? Is it crisis? Is it one of those interruptive things in our lives? I maybe didn't read far enough in the book to get there, but I'm just wondering about the development of the intentionality toward the action of love and what conspires to make that happen.
Rosy Petri [01:06:41] That was a great question. Who can who's asked that question? Can somebody wave? I can't see who asked that question. You got to roll in more.
Audience Member [01:06:50] Hi, Rosy. My name is Molly and I work here at United.
Rosy Petri [01:07:00] Oh, cool. That was actually that was a great question, because as we're getting ready to have this conversation, I was trying to think about like, how do you talk about love outside of romantic love and the obligation of familial love, which I think are two kinds of love that people struggle with because they're expected to have them functioning in a certain kind of way. But there's this other kind of love that is like a communal love that is having dignity for ourselves and for the people around us. And I think sometimes the catalyst of getting to that kind of communal love is almost a conversion in the sense of like Saul's great conversion. He's up on his horse, he falls on the ground. He realizes he's been a complete dumpster fire in how he's treated his community. And I think we have all had those moments in our lives. Where we have been less than loving or we feel like we don't deserve love. So we behave in a way that makes us feel in alignment with that, that love that we don't think we deserve. And so something that's kind of interesting about bell hooks is her broad references and the fact that she was so close to Thomas Merton physically, where he was located in his monastery, as well as her proximity to Wendell Berry, the poet. And so these are kind of three philosophical outsiders who are pretty spiritual, a little lonely, but also a part of this beloved community that's also rural. So I thought that was a cool question. That's all I have to say about it.
Audience Member [01:09:03] Hi, I'm Carrie and I have a related question. What struck me in this book was when she started talking about love being a verb and a praxis. And to me, that was the only way we could get to loving as a community and loving the stranger, loving the person that is living a life that perhaps that we don't understand or we don't agree with or is different than ours. But I feel like in our community both local and as a country, we have not learned how to love other people who are stranger and who are outside of our family and our friends. Because all it's easy to easier to love our family and our friends and work on that. That's the most important thing and we work on it. But somehow we've got to start loving the person who's different than we are, loving the person who has a different view. And so that's what I thought she was getting to in that. But I don't know how we as a, even as a seminary can promote that, can teach that, can even be examples of that. How do we become people that love as a verb and love as a praxis, even if we don't have the sentimentality behind it?
Todd Lawrence [01:10:41] Yeah, that's a great question. And it made me think about, you know, this is one of the ten things that I think is the most important thing that is said in this book. But I think that the barrier to that is fear. I mean, that's one of the things that she talks about so much in the book is that love is really the absence of fear. But we are taught and we are conditioned to fear so much, to live in a world of fear. And this I mean, this sort of goes just to what Rosy was talking about, like that sort of communal love can't really happen when everyone's afraid, when everyone's afraid I'm going to lose my resources or I'm going to lose my power or I'm going to, you know, be forced to do something that I don't want to do or whatever it might be. I mean, there are just list after list of things that people fear that keep them from being vulnerable. And I think, you know, to me, the the act of love, I mean, you can see it in what we do when we try to take care of people and care for people and make sure that everybody has what they need and those sorts of things. But I mean, I think ultimately it's like to be vulnerable to other people and to to open yourself up to the possibility that change might happen to you, that you're not in control of. And that's extremely scary for most people, scary for me. You know, I want to talk about it as if I have mastered this thing or that I know how to how to control that emotion. But I don't completely. And it's and it's hard to do. So I think like I think a lot about this book as I was reading it, I was also teaching James Baldwin and I'm also teaching Audre Lorde at the same time. And I was thinking about James Baldwin in The Fire Next Time, which she does quote in this book. But he says he basically forwards love as the only thing in 1963. So 1963 he is writing Fire Next Time. And he says "love is the only thing that can save us". And I don't mean like love. That's like the American kind of like, you know, feeling good, you know, like what I think she calls like the romantic love or sort of physical love or anything like that that he says the kind of love, which is like to dare, to venture, to try to reach out. That is transformative. That's the only thing that can save the country. And of course, The Fire Next Time is like, you know, a document about the potential end of the country. Right. You know, and he says white people and black people. And that's you know, that's a sort of framework that he's talking about in that moment. But white people and black people together have to dare together. We have to dare together in love to transform this country. And I think, you know, that's true for everybody. That's true for all of us in all of the communities that we're a part of. I think those of you in the audience or, you know, online who do organizing work, who work with other people. You do that because you see there's a potential for transformation when people come together and when people come together with love, it's the most powerful thing that can ever happen, you know? And I think, you know, it's easy for me to say this, but I really do think that if we can get as much fear out of the way, that leaves space for love to bloom and for people to connect and do amazing things together.
Ry Siggelkow [01:14:22] I wonder if I could just quote hooks here on this point on fear. She writes on page 93, "Cultures of domination rely on the cultivation of fear as a way to ensure obedience. In our society, we make much of love and say little about fear. Yet we are all terribly afraid most of the time. As a culture, we are obsessed with the notion of safety. Yet we do not question why we live in states of extreme anxiety and dread. Fear is the primary force upholding structures of domination. Fear promotes the desire for separation. The desire not to be known. When we are taught that safety lies always with sameness, then difference of any kind will appear as a threat. When we choose to love, we choose to move against fear. Against alienation and separation. The choice to love is a choice to connect, to find ourselves in the other". And she says another point, "Domination cannot exist in any social situation where a love ethic prevails". And when I read these passages, I thought of Martin Luther King, who spoke so powerfully in his sermons and speeches about how the root at the root of racism, militarism, imperialism, capitalism, nationalism is really fear. Fear, King used to say, is at the root of hate. You don't hate. First you fear and then you hate. And of course, his idea is that while he draws from what one of John's epistles is, that only love can cast out fear. And this was King's message. It strikes me as extremely important right now. We think about the questions of safety. Yeah. And then just within the question of our relationships to one another, how there is this sense of fearfulness, I think, and in a society that promotes that, that is structured by that and is also upheld by that, you know, how do we break free from that? And I suppose the answer is love, but what does that look like? What might it mean for love to cast out fear? Are there other responses or things that folks would like to share online?
Jessica Chapman Lape [01:17:15] There was someone that posted something in the chat. Could you?
Audience Member [01:17:18] Yeah, yeah, Harrison said, also on Fear, from Black Looks quote, "The power of patriarchy is that it makes maleness feared and that it makes men think that it is better to be feared than to be loved".
Todd Lawrence [01:17:33] Yeah. I mean, yeah, that's so, so right. You know, and when I was talking before about. Well, she says she talks about this repeatedly in the book, but men fear love because they fear weakness. If you grow up learning that to love is to be weak. And that to to reach out is to be weak. And but that's why I love what you know, the end of that quote, you know, that you just read, which is to see yourself in other people, to see yourself in the other person. And I just want to like really sort of give kudos to, props and respect and everything to the women, especially the black women who are writing about this and talking about this and speaking about this. About opening up, about letting go of this fear that men have, that we hold, that we use to shield ourselves from real relationships with everyone else around us, you know? And I really feel it, you know, like, I really feel it. Why? Why have I behaved in the way that I have for so much of my life? Because I was afraid, you know? And and I really think, you know, you ask that question about, like, what is the catalyst that might make us sort of turn towards love? I think for me, it was like women saying, what are you doing? You know, and not that they were just women that I want to love this woman or something, but that a woman was saying to me, do you realize that you're living half a life. When you won't. You don't even know how you feel. I got to go like through this process of even like knowing what my emotions were. Someone asked me, what do you feel? I don't know. I'm completely numb. And that's out of fear, right? Because if I open myself up, even to my own emotions, what could be in there? And then if I have to share that with someone else, what might they think of me? Right. And she's telling us that's part of it. You have to take that risk. You have to open yourself up to the pain that might come with love. I think that's such an important part of this book, is that she never says, if you love, there will be no hurt. But if you love, you can recover from hurt. There can be healing from hurt, right. But if you don't love, that hurt, it just never goes away, you know? So love is this thing which can save us again and again when we open ourselves up and there is pain which will come, you know? And to me that I don't know, it just, like, so resonated with me. It feels so powerful. You know, this speaks to the end of the book where she's talking about death. Right. And we were talking about this before we came out here. And, you know, essentially she says that love gives us power over death, that it means that when we love that, I think that the quote is like when we love death is not the end of life, but a part of living. Which is like so good, so good. And I think what am I most afraid of in life? Dying. But if I have love then it's just a part of living. Yeah.
Ry Siggelkow [01:21:25] Jessica, I wonder as a chaplain working with people at the end of life. Working with people as they die. How you would reflect on that and that point that Todd just made?
Jessica Chapman Lape [01:21:47] Yeah this was my favorite part of the text- her discussion on loss. So as somebody who works with death and dying, I found her philosophy on dying and on loving life into death as really, really poignant. So she says. We can move away from this worship of death. And she talks about this worship of death, really, and the ways in which our media portrays death. What I found so prophetic actually about this, you know, she wrote this over 20 years ago and this obsession with death, I note as viral videos around black men being killed by police violence and this kind of glorification of death in very unhealthy ways. But she talks about it as a worship of death. And so she says that we can move away from this worship of death by challenging patriarchy, creating peace, working for justice, and embracing a love ethic. And so moving away from worshiping death to then befriend death. And as a chaplain, somebody who is in the practice of death work, this idea of befriending death, I think, is so powerful. And the way we befriend death is by recognizing that it is always a part of our life and recognizing that if we love well, then we can die well, because we will die with no regrets. Or if we love well, then we can grieve well because we can grieve with no shame or no regret. And I thought this was a beautiful way of thinking about about death. And additionally, she talks about having death being. "Love is the only force that allows us to hold one another close beyond the grave. That is why knowing how to love each other is also a way of knowing how to die". And as somebody who communes with my ancestors, I found this to be beautiful. If we love, if we know love, we know how to love our ancestors well, if we know how to love each other well, then that love lasts beyond the grave. That love lasts beyond life. I think that's for me that was the most important piece that I took from these texts.
Ry Siggelkow [01:24:34] Rosy, I don't know if you have some thoughts on this as well.
Rosy Petri [01:24:39] I do. And actually, I think it's really interesting the two parts of the book that really, really did stick out were about children and about death. And I think we're at this really interesting place culturally right now where we are surrounded by death. And people are not addressing it. We're skirting around it. We're pretending like it's not happening. We're also expected to be functioning at full capacity, even though most of us are grieving. And I think there's something to that about like are we scared to to face this grief right now? We lost a lot of people that we didn't anticipate. So we've been processing that. And I think that there are beginning of life doulas and end of life doulas. Both of those things are really similar and does not our unwillingness to grieve those things also have something to do with why we don't give children agency or dignity or why we step away from the sick or the grieving. Like, are those things not all really similar?
Ry Siggelkow [01:26:12] I think that was a question for the audience. Any reflections from the room or online?
Audience Member [01:26:32] I was just thinking while you're talking. It's World AIDS Day and having pastored primarily gay congregations during that period. One of the scriptures we would read all the time at funerals is from Song of Songs. That love is stronger than death. And I think that, you know, this idea that people talk about the loved ones they're grieving. Or we're expected to talk about loving them in the past tense. I loved this person. When that love continues, when you continue to love them long after they're gone and and that doesn't end. And I was also thinking one of the churches I pastored was in Hawaii, where it's culturally very appropriate to speak, to have spoken to the dead. People would tell me about conversations they had with their dead loved ones who encouraged them to find love again, who told them things like money doesn't matter. Like do what you love. Like, it was always this sort of pushing towards love. And I, as a young, you know, 20 something pastor. I learned a lot about life from what the dead were telling the living about the importance of love. And just the conversation you all are having reminded me of those of those experiences. And those messages from this love that is stronger than death.
Audience Member [01:27:56] Thank you. My name is Heather and I am a graduate of United. And this really speaks to me in that I'm thinking about my mother, who in her first part of her career was a midwife. And then later in her career, she became a bereavement coordinator. And so she has literally experienced both ends of life in the fullness of her career. I mean, and she says, you know, the you know, how she came to that full circle is is because there are so many similarities between birth and death. The way you prepare for birth, you're preparing for death. You know. Just the excitement, the complications, the anticipation. You know, they are not too dissimilar from one another.
Ry Siggelkow [01:29:24] Thank you for that. I think we have time for maybe one more comment and I see Tom's hand raised online. Tom, he might be muted.
Audience Member [01:29:42] Hi. Rosy's comment about quoting from bell hooks that love is the only force that is strong enough to continue on past, past the grave really hit home for me. I actually most of my professional life is spent at the Minnesota Department of Health. And we've spent the past three years responding to this pandemic. And I'm also aware of many colleagues who are chaplains and many health care workers and the trauma that everyone who's worked in this area has experienced. And I have to speak to my own personal experience of death and my family. And I really feel like the only thing that sustains this sometimes is the love of community. It's very intentional thought and thinking. About. An action, even the simplest action that extends love so that the persons who are traumatized. Know that there is a strength far beyond what they might be experiencing at that time, and I am quite aware of how. My loved one, the person we lost extends back into my life now and is shaping me and loving me into to a more expansive way of thinking and being. It's quite amazing the potential for transformative love. And, you know, for for those of us who have studied religion and been in faith and immersed in faith. Really this is what we've all been talking about all this time. And I guess I have to appreciate the way bell hooks has made that and helped shown us how that is practically done and lived. But, you know, I think we only honor those deaths by seeking to use love in transformative ways.
Ry Siggelkow [01:32:18] Thank you, Tom. And thank you to everybody. We are at about end here at 831. Thank you so much for attending this panel. This conversation, community conversation on Bell Hooks' "all about love" in honor of her, in honor of her life and her legacy in this first anniversary of her death. And I appreciate everyone who's come out tonight in person as well, braving the cold. And I look forward to seeing you all, hopefully at our next event coming up in February and then in March.
Audience Member [01:33:00] Before we go, I think I'm going to pull up rosy's, bell hooks art for everyone to see. It's very beautiful. And you should check out the rest of her work on her website.
Ry Siggelkow [01:33:15] This is Rosy's brilliant piece, which is located at Berea College. Thank you so much and have a great night and continue the conversation.