The pen is mightier than the sword, they say.

 

But what I believe is this…

 

Neither the keyboard nor the Kalashnikov is as mighty as (actual) love expressed to the person who, otherwise, you would simply prefer to mock or ridicule if not kill.

 

Historically speaking, of course, both the pen and the sword have been known to take themselves way too seriously.

 

Notwithstanding, I’ll still take the pen—for the sake of humanity.

 

And, without flinching or blinking or hesitating in the least, I must also say: I’ll take love over the pen any bloody day of the week.

 

The ethic; the virtue; the self-giving act of loving another.

 

Not that watered-down tolerance-speak of political or (even) religious fairy tales.

 

The real, tangible, earthy, interpersonal action-motion that somehow takes us well beyond the self—and especially beyond our tribal community, however socially defined.

 

In other words, I’ll take one extremist act of genuine love for another person over that good, clean war of ideas any bloody day of the week.

 

Because—love is no joke.

 

Which being interpreted means: If your freedom (dear Americans, Western civilization sponsors and benefactors, ardent secularists, even-more-ardent atheists) or especially your faith (dear evangelical Christian, pious Muslim, orthodox Jew, socially engaged Buddhist) can’t inspire love, then both freedom and faith are implicated as deficient and not entirely useful for the human affairs also known as global affairs.

 

In the year 2015 of the Common Era, what I believe is this: Love is surprisingly, deathly serious.

 

It is chock-full of latent strength, which is chock-full of multifaceted hidden strengths.

 

It is far mightier than powerful words or (even) crafty drawings extolling freedom.

 

Not to mention: those automatic weapons proclaiming “God” and his imposed 7th-century will.

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Loving our Muslim Neighbors: Soft Power, Strongly Applied is a Monday blog series written by Nathan F. Elmore for Off the Page. Nathan serves Peace Catalyst International as a peacemaker and educator in Christian-Muslim relations. Here, and throughout the series, we are hopeful of moving further toward Christian faithfulness, wisdom, and courage as we interact with the neighbor who is Muslim.