Why Tolerance is Not Enough

I'm loving N.T. Wright's latest book, After You Believe: Why Christian Character Matters (Harper). Wright has a definite gift for big picture thinking: he soars over the vast and varied biblical landscape with grace and ease, showing his readers a topography that is both stunning and profound, yet accessible and deeply relevant. Contrasting the Christian virtue of love with society's penchant for tolerance, Wright remarks:

"The problem with [tolerance] is clear: I can 'tolerate' you without it costing me anything very much. I can shrug my shoulders, walk away, and leave you to do your own thing. That, admittedly, is preferable to my taking you by the throat and shaking you until you agree with me. But it is certainly not love. Love affirms the reality of the other person, the other culture, the other way of life; love takes the trouble to get to know the other person or culture, finding out how he, she, or it ticks, what makes it special; and finally, love wants the best for that person or culture" (p. 254).

Love costs something. Perhaps more accurately, love costs everything. Tolerance, not nearly as much. God grant us the grace to love one another.