“Love on”?

Glad to know that I am not the only one to notice the strange, trendy phenomenon of using “love on” instead of, simply, “love.” Here is Addie Zierman in the Post:

Love on (e.g. “As youth group leaders, we’re just here to love on those kids.”)

In addition to sounding just plain creepy, this phrase also has troubling implications. We may understand that we need help, but we certainly don’t want to be anyone’s project or ministry.

It may just be semantics, but being loved on feels very different than being simply loved. The former connotes a sudden flash of contrived kindness; the latter is simpler…but deeper. It suggests that the relationship is the point, not the act of love itself.

Amen. As for the rest of Addie’s musings, I am more than a little sympathetic to Lydia McGrew’s take: “Ho hum, another day, another preachy, arrogant, self-important op-ed, from a millennial telling churches how to avoid scaring off the sensitive snowflakes born around the turn of the century.” Okay, I wouldn’t put it quite that way, but it takes a great deal of fortitude some days!

A preacher who follows Addie’s advice and routinely says, “This is where study and prayer have led me, but I could be wrong,” will make a horrible, horrible preacher. It is no better than its opposite caricature, the raging fundamentalist — both are rooted in insecurities and subjective preoccupations. By the way, when will these “post-evangelicals” read a little history and realize that they are just mainline Protestants, channeling Harry Fosdick?



  1. Never mind of course that you will not find one smidgen of an iota of love anywhere on the whats-wrong-with-the-world website and the people and groups that link into to it.
    Indeed the toxic world-view that they promote is exactly and precisely what IS REALLY wrong with the world.

    • I don’t care to defend the folks at What’s Wrong.

      I assume that my readers are mature enough to discern ideological interests and adjudicate accordingly, as you have done.

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