ECCLESIOLOGICAL ETCHINGS February 14, 2023 When change is suggested, there will always be concerns and questions. There is nothing wrong with raising concerns and asking good questions. My concern is when people seek to demonize and foster fear about the change, even conveying the change as an attack on religion or American values. If what people are telling you is causing you fear, it is probably a good idea to ask the question, "What does the person telling me to fear something have to gain from making me afraid?" And an equally important question might be, "Is there any data to back up the alarmists' statements?" This second question requires real research, not the talking heads on late-night cable news. Remember, they have something to gain from making you afraid.
When Jesus and others in scripture said, "Do not be afraid," I do not believe they were telling us to negate the biological aspect of fear. It is hard to put the chemicals back after they have been released, like after a big bang that wakes us from our sleep. Yet there is something important about pausing before jumping on the fear bandwagon. The Prophet Isaiah was one of those who wrote on behalf of God, "Do not fear, for I am with you." The Prophet had seen unethical people causing alarm and fear, but for self-serving purposes. In fact, it was more of a distraction from the real abuse that was happening (Isaiah 10). Throughout history, there have been those who have scapegoated the marginalized and the voiceless because they are an easy target. This is happening today, and it is impacting people I know and love. It would be wrong even if I did not know and love the people impacted, but the permission given whenever we scapegoat a marginalized group is a permission to act with violence. I know I have nothing to fear as I believe God is with me, but I am afraid... Yet it is God’s presence that demands that I speak and act on behalf of those who cannot.
I will talk more about this tomorrow…
God of Grace and Goodness, I seek to draw a calming breath from your Spirit of Peace. A lot of people have a lot of agendas, and many of those agendas are not just or kind or Christ-like. And when they use fear, unfounded fear, let me see who is truly injured and vulnerable. You are calling me to serve them, assuming I do not believe the fear-mongering rhetoric. Thank you for this help, O God. Amen.