Being a simple man with no illusions, I tried to grasp the meaning of what was being said. "Good Woman," I asked in earnest, "Why would your neighbors condemn honest people who act with great Charity, even though they are not Christian."
My host stared into the fire and shuddered. "It is well that you came upon me," she answered, "for you can leave this accursed township with your head held high. Those who govern this community rule by fear."
I stood up, and rubbing my hands together, approached the fireplace. However, I still had questions.
"You are a woman in torment," I declared, "however, you seem to hold fast that Christianity is a system of belief that will not exploit others. Why do you remain among those who proclaim Christian beliefs, but who violate the essential tenets set forth in scripture?"
My host stood up from her position by the fire and very slowly came over to me. She stood before me and with moistening eyes said, "They are not evil, but have lost their way. If our savior sacrificed everything to redeem humanity, do I not have an obligation to continue his work?"
The next day I left. However, I provided my benefactor with a quantity of worldly goods free of charge. I may be a great trader, but she is dealing in higher stakes.
God help us all if she, and others like her, fail.