December 11, 2006

fueled by fear ...



About two weeks ago I was a part of a conference call. The dialogue in the call was really good, but after it was done I felt uncomfortable with a couple of things I had said.

What I said was truth ...
What I said was helpful in the conversation ...
What I said, I'd probably say again in a similar situation ...
But what I said had been motivated by personal fears.

Fear is an interesting thing ...
It can control us.
It can paralize us.
It can even motivate us.

When I realized fear was behind my comments on the phone call, I had to stop and as myself some hard questions ... where was the fear coming from? Ultimately, I uncovered the root of my fears so that I could deal with them along with the help of some friends. It was a really heathy process. I learnt alot about myself.

But what happens when people
decide to use fear on purpose?

I remember seeing Bowling for Columbine for the first time. One of the comments made in the midst of all the interviews was about the US media and how fear drives much of what they say (or something like that ... its been a long time since I watched it) ...

In the last four days, I've receive an article from an influencial Christian in the USA that "sounds the alarm", read a blog post that "raises serious concerns", and found some interesting online commentary on the 24-7 Prayer movement I am a part of (apparently we are a cultish, new age group ... want some kool-aid?!?) ...

All of these were rooted in fear.
All of them will stir up a response rooted in that same fear.

So I'm left asking myself how I should respond? And because it seems to be a growing tactic used in the church to stir up people to ... to ... well, into fear I guess, how am I to respond as a guy trying to live his life after the model of the man named Jesus?

"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love." [1 John 4.18]

As I look at the life of Jesus, I don't see him using fear as a motivator ... I just don't. In fact, he hangs everything he teaches on two bits from the book of Deuteronomy and Leviticus and in those the word "love" shows up as the key concept in both! That means that I have to reject fear-based motivation as the root of what I say and how I respond to others. That's a hard thing to do ... because fear is easy ...

In the midst of all of this, I found a recent post by Floyd McClung quite helpful (and I'd encourage you to read the entire article so he doesn't come off sounding like he's over-simplifying it) . In it, he's exploring the notion that American Christians are in a cultural war and must return the country to it's former Christian status as a nation ... something that is often motivated by fear ...

"... But speaking as an American, I don’t believe we are called by God to recapture something that was lost in the past of our history as a nation, but to be live and love in the present. Our goal is not to win a battle for our culture, but to be like Jesus to our friends and neighbors. My ideal as a Jesus follower is not to fight a culture war to recapture our lost heritage, but to obey Jesus commands to love and serve and share the good news I have found in Him."

and

"... But I don’t buy it. I think we are fighting the wrong battle if we are fighting to preserve a “Christian nation.” We are not called to “take our nations back for God.” I think we are fighting the wrong battle by fighting against people we are called to love. There are battles to be fought for sure, but those battles are against evil and abuse and greed and pride, starting in my own heart and in the “church.”"

Hmmm ....
So I think this is going to be an open-ended post ...
I've not figured it all out yet. I'd be open to your thoughts, comments, criticism ....
let's see where this leads ...

2 comments:

Kirk Bartha said...

way to go bud... stepping out on that limb. vulnerability and authenticity shine through this...

dan said...

thanks kirk ...