“It is no small thing to hear, and to say, in a violent and brutal world, in a world where many easily use others for pleasure and profit, “God is love.” When there has been no real love in your life — and my wife has another such story, for being a pastor’s daughter means little — then the most important question you will ever ask, and you will ever want answered, is “will someone ever love me?” It may be tawdry and sentimental and demand little from far too many comfortable folks who fill churches (though to be honest, so does supporting the troops and opposing abortion and loving Israel, mostly because such things as political postures require little discipline or sacrifice, and they don’t really form people in the image of Christ — and this is true also of mistaking the welfare state for the Kingdom), in many of the churches I have been in — in rough places, hard places, places full of broken, unwanted people — there is nothing more important than to grab hold of that love and know that despite all the world does and has done, that love is yours.It is no small thing.It is no small thing to love those who come to you so broken by violence and hedonism. To truly love them. It is no small thing to say, love your neighbor. and then actually love your neighbor as Jesus loves. No small thing.”

A longtime reader wrote to say that he mostly enjoyed my Time essay about why Pope Francis’s apparent laxness will not cause this ex-Catholic to return to Rome.

Read it all: The Shocking Power Of A Word Of Love

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