Francis Spufford on picking through the ruins of Christendom:
Those of us who, despite everything, think there’s something precious in the words jumbled-up now among the rubble, do not do so because we are pro-tyranny or anti-self discovery. We do so because we know that what was written on those towering walls wasn’t the credo of an authoritarian certainty at all. But instead — mixed up, yeah, with some heterogenous other stuff over the centuries, some questionable — a song of liberation, a startling declaration that power, that love, that justice, that order, that God the creator of all things, weren’t what we thought they were, but came closest to us in paradoxes. Wisdom, in foolishness; strength, in weakness; sovereignty over the immense empire of matter, in helpless self-sacrifice, in a choking man brought to death by a shrugging government. What’s written on the bricks still has the power to shock, when you join them together. GREATER LOVE HATH NO MAN THAN THIS turns out to lead to, THAN THAT HE LAY DOWN HIS LIFE FOR HIS FRIEND. Not very positive, is it? LOVE YOUR EN- continues, -EMY, AND PRAY FOR THOSE WHO PERSECUTE YOU. What’s that about? How will that help me to be thinner, richer, stronger, more sexually successful? It won’t. It will only help you to be kinder, braver, more tolerant of our inevitable imperfections, and more hopeful; more convinced that the worst than can happen to us, as humans, is not the last word, because there is a love we should try to copy in our small ways, which never rests, never gives up, is never defeated.