“We have heard of saints and rumors of saints, but the flesh-and-blood saints we know fall short of the ideal. Only in the pages of the Bible do we meet the poor in spirit, the peacemakers, those who turn the other cheek and those who love neighbors as themselves. These mystical human qualities exist on paper, like Zeno’s points, but in real life they are rare and sporadic.

“The paradox of the gospel is difficult to work out. Christ tells us that we are to be the salt of the earth and children of the light, but we will never truly be those things. We are, at best, noble savages, with our feet mired in the dust and the clay out of which we were created.” (>>)