Thursday, April 10, 2014

We Are Called to Love: Wax on the Difference Between Tolerance & Love

From Trevin Wax's book Holy Subversion:
Many today seem to define tolerance as never disagreeing with anyone about any religious matter. But does not the very notion of tolerance assume some sort of disagreement? To seek to win someone over to another viewpoint is not intolerance. Debate takes place in universities, churches, and businesses all the time.
But even this kind of tolerance is not our goal. We are not merely called to tolerate those who disagree with us; we are called to love. The world's idea of tolerance is a parody of the Christian understanding of love.
Tolerance is passive. Love is active.

Tolerance is a feeling of apathy. Love is accompanied by feelings of great affection.

Tolerance keeps people at arm's length in hopes of not offending them. Love embraces people where they are and "hopes all things."

Tolerance leaves people alone as individuals. Love ushers people into a community of generosity.

Tolerance keeps a safe distance between those in need. Love rolls up its sleeves in service even to those who may be unlikable.

Tolerance avoids confrontation in order to maintain "peace." Love tells the truth boldly and graciously in order to bring about a deeper, more lasting peace. (145-146)
I would add: love was incarnated when the Creator came down to live with and rescue His fallen creation. Love involves courage, sacrifice, and humility. Tolerance requires nothing of me. And thus the more the legalistic moral of tolerance grows, the more divided and derisive we become.


For more:
"Clear Winter Nights" by Trevin Wax: A Review
"No Longer Just a Hobby": An Interview With Trevin Wax
We Enjoy Sex Too Little
Rival Eschatologies: NT Wright on Christianity and the Enlightenment 
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