There is a discussion brewing on our post,” Leader or Expert: Choosing a President.” This election is charged with political, social, and religious fervor. All parts are being played, and the audience is large and diverse. One of the comments strikes a chord that I think represents a large slice of the Evangelicval and Fundamentalist Christian vote. This chord is in the word fear.
God-fearing people. that is what we are supposed to be in America. God-fearing. We have been seduced into believing that our God is a god of punishment rather than justice. We justify our Christian actions by sighting that Jesus was at the temple with a whip, so no-violence and pacifism are not part of the Christian tradition. Fear is power over other people, and Jesus never advocated fear and He never encouraged having power over anyone. He taught about serving and empowering, that the least among us will be the inheritors of the Kingdom of heaven.
This is a quote from 1 John in the Message:
To Love, to Be Loved
17-18 God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love. 19 We, though, are going to love—love and be loved. First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first.
20-21 If anyone boasts, “I love God,” and goes right on hating his brother or sister, thinking nothing of it, he is a liar. If he won’t love the person he can see, how can he love the God he can’t see? The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to love both.
We have also had a running conversation about etiquette, or respecting the people around us. Respect is a different concept than fear. There are some realities about our world, and we are to respect those realities. Actions and beliefs have consequences, and, as informed people, we are responsible for owning those consequences. But do not be afraid, for God is with you. Faith is not about fear, it is about becoming whole in love and finding the strength to make hard decisions, without fear.
“The central inbreaking of the Kingdom of God is simply Jesus saying ‘Follow Me.’ It is stepping outside of a view of history that is cyclical and repetitive, to an open view of history where things can actually change.”
– Rob Bell.
That is what we need in a President. I agree for entirely different reasons. We need someone of faith that has the courage and fortitude to change things.
Faith is the liberator. Fear and guilt are the oppressors.