Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Do Not Be Afraid

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear...' 1 John 4:18a

People are steadily becoming more afraid. Recent worldwide events have increased fear levels among many of us, causing us to question and doubt our own safety. More than this it has created ever greater fear of 'the other' or 'neighbour', generating within us a suspicious gaze at those who we perceive to be not like us. As I have said before, the 'neighbour' is those we are least like, prejudiced towards and afraid if.

The onslaught in our media and the rhetoric from our government would keep us bound and gagged in fear. There is no greater way to control people than to keep them afraid, uninformed and ignorant of the truth.

The horrific attacks in France and Tunisia rightly make us recoil in disbelief, sadness and anger. Yet every day thousands of people are living in fear as Western drones hover over their villages dropping bombs without warning, killing and maiming children, woman and men. They are subjected to terror everyday. Indeed, across this world there are governments, often supported by our own government, that oppress and abuse and violate human rights, bringing terroristic decisions upon the people. In other words, our hands are not clean, not clean at all.

Our fear is based upon our security and our desire to process our possessions. Indeed, as Hauerwas says, we are possessed by our possessions. Bonhoeffer said that we confuse peace and security as though both were the same thing. They are not. Peace is something far deeper, richer and more profound that security. Yet government and media would tell us that as long as we can eliminate 'terror' we can have peace and secure our lifestyle.

Martin Luther King Jr saw it much differently and highlighted the three evils of poverty, racism and militarism. Our foreign policies have increased poverty, increased racism and increased militarism; we have increased evil on this planet and to what aim?

But another voice echoes out to us, a whisper that tells another story; do not be afraid because perfect love casts out fear.

When we love and forgive the way that we 'see' completely changes.

The way we see 'neighbour' is transformed. The way we see ourselves is changed.

Go into your communities and meet your neighbour, spend time with loved ones, laugh, eat and talk about meaningless things. Yet also hear the voice of your neighbour, talk about things that matter, discuss issues that are volatile, hear the voice of those you disagree with and learn from them. Walk in the shoes of those you know nothing about. Hear their voice, be their friend.

As we do this love will rise like the dawn and the darkness of fear will melt away. This kind of love is not sentimental, superficial rubbish, but a depth of love that hears the cry, shares the joy and walks with fellow people.

Do not be afraid, rather seek another story. Ignore the rhetoric of government and media. Read, explore, challenge and pursue and you will hear another version of events. As Nietzche said, “...those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.” So be seen to be insane, for once you can hear the music you will never want to deafened by the lies we are peddled.

Do not be afraid, for perfect love casts out fear.


RDM said...

This reminds me of Brueggemann in his brilliant book 'Reality, Grief, Hope - three urgent prophetic tasks' (that I've nearly finished) - He writes,

"This combination of military illusion, economic distortion, racist posturing, and skewed religion amounts to an effort to sustain a practise of denial [my comment: he's writing specifically about America here, but it easily fits the wider Western world]. The purpose of the denial, I suggest, is to maintain old privilige and entitlement and to fend off the reality of the world. The practical consequences is that we have a society that in truth is not working for a large number of people....made "acceptible" through appeals to the ideology of exceptionalism that gives warrant for the distortion of social reality."
pg 76-77

But I could've saved myself £12 and just read your blog!

Joe Haward said...

Great quote. Will have to put the book on my birthday list...It's my birthday soon...just thought I'd let you know...