Krinda Joy Carlson
“Love is the greatest show on earth,” declared Jessica Hoffman, founder of Pure Beauty Project and host of the non-profit’s first co-ed event, Love is a Circus, which was held downtown Honolulu the evening of December 5th. Know God. Know Love joined the event for the course of the evening as a support and a feature, with KGKL founder Josh De Gracia joining the panel discussion. Pure Beauty and KGKL often combine forces to further the message of purity and of pure love; Hoffman was one of the keynote speakers for KGKL’s Passion & Purity Conference, held February, 2011. December 5th found the forces together again; enter the circus…
The attendees of the event were invited to learn about this “show” in true circus style. An array of fair-food, complete with popcorn and a cotton candy machine, were offered as pictures were taken next to the stilts-wearing clown who was present. With lights all around, and hay strewn about, Cody Pregil, an 18 year old senior, explained, “It seems pretty cool here – the scene itself does. And the food was good!” A frequent attender of Pure Beauty events, Hannah Abbot echoed a similar sentiment on the vibe, “It’s a good environment.” The 17 year old, Abbot, explained how the topic matter and issues that the events tackle are not only relevant to her life, but also “inspiring.”
The message of Love is a Circus centered around, well, obviously love, but also the fact that love is wild, painful, exciting, dangerous, and a show to not only watch, but to join.
As the large crowd gathered for Love is a Circus, it was evident that this message was something that struck interest in many. Mason Allbritten, age 27, a volunteer at the event and long-time friend of Hoffman, said, “It’s encouraging to see that people are open and willing to a relationship that is godly and pure.” As he spun the cotton candy for hungry attendees, he explained how he’s shared a vision for love that is different from what is on the television shows and movies, one that involves “loving and respecting your significant other.” Allbritten insight was a prelude to what was to come.
After the food and fun, came the main act for the night, set on a stage under banners which mimicked the look of a Big-Top, while the attendees observed from the “audience.” If, in following true circus-fashion, the night were to have a brochure, it would have looked something like this:
Joshua De Gracia, who was invited to join the panel a few weeks before the event, weighted in on the discussion of love. De Gracia was able to bring the message of KGKL forward, explaining that love involves a choice, not just emotions or feelings. Yes, love is a lot of things…
What exactly is love, then?
The answers that came throughout the night included that love is a choice, a sacrifice, butterflies, the reason to exist, and it is marked by a willingness to lay down ones life. It’s also a risk – as Sonya Balmores Chung highlighted, “None of us are immune to bad things…it’s like a circus out there, you get stampeded on by the elephants sometimes.” But, through the mess, often something beautiful comes. Johan Khalilian continued the discussion of the dangers of love, “Love is painful, it opens the heart to hurt…the price to pay is your heart.” He asked a very vital question everyone must present to themselves when standing on the platform, deciding whether to step onto the tightrope of love or not…
“Are we willing to pay the price to experience love?”
That’s where Love is a Circus brought the audience – to this one question. Because the love that the speakers, and Hoffman’s foundation Pure Beauty, champions is different from the conversation that we most often hear, which involves sex, warm-fuzzies, and seeking one’s own satisfaction; real love, PURE love, involves a risk and sacrifice; it involves putting the heart out in the open, and giving it to someone else; it, finally, involves knowing we were created to love and be loved by a God who IS love. Khalilian describes, “Love exists…not in the shallows, not in the safe places, but the place that’s dangerous and deep.” This love is “beautifully poetic,” he went on to describe, and, “our heart is yearning for this thing [called love].” So despite the cost we pay to enter the circus, the thrill of the flips and the satisfaction of throwing ourselves into the show is worth it – the price is worth it. Along the way, Hoffman reminds, “He [God] will make you beautiful in your time…He will make your love life beautiful in its time.”
The end of Love is a Circus does not mark the end of the discussion either. After ACT IV comes our ACT V, and ACT VII and on and on, because something that becomes beautiful with time keeps growing and developing. For Hoffman, she knows that continuing to reach women with the message of living whole and pure, and now to reach both genders with the message of a wild but beautifully-pure love is her purpose in life: “I feel so alive when I’m acting out what God put in my heart.” She claims she’s ready for the next event, even as Johan Khalilian prepares to speak on a cruise ship to men and women about relationships and love, and De Gracia begins the planning for KGKL’s next conference to be held in the spring of 2012. They all encourage people not to shy from love but to embrace and enter the ACT now: Khalilian – “The words and dedication it takes to make a relationship successful begins before you get in a relationship”; Hoffman – “Do everything in your power to reach a place in your heart so you can love to the fullest”; De Gracia – “We get to learn a lot now from other peoples experiences and with wisdom from God we can seek the best [love] relationship possible.”
If real love is the greatest show on earth, are you willing to pay the price to join the thrilling arena? One cannot fully answer this question without first learning how to be loved, and what better way to learn that than to seek out the God who claims to be LOVE itself (see the Bible, 1 John 4:8). Can you hear the conductor even now, within, calling out, “Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, step right up and…
JOIN THE CIRCUS!”
To also join us in the furthering discussion, see the following links:
*(NOTE: titles to speakers’ topics given by the author of the article to summarize the stories and points each individual covered)