Fear and Loathing

The Country's Woes, End Times, Postmodernity, Secular Humanists, Liberals, and the Emerging Church

I know. It is easy to get frustrated and even fearful. You hear frightening news on the Christian radio talk shows and read it in the columns of your most trusted Christian leaders. “The country is no longer Christian! We are sliding toward Babylon!”

I know. It seems that the world keeps getting worse and worse. You fear that it seems that all the signs point to the end times, when terrible things must happen before the Return of Christ.

I know. You’ve been told that postmodernity is seeking to destroy our belief in Absolute Truth, and with no Absolute Truth we have no standard. You fear that the Bible will be tossed out the window and so will our faith.

I know. You hear Christian ministries pleading for you to send them money so that they can stem the tide of the secular humanists who seek to steal your country and rob your kids from you.

I know. You loath those liberals, who (since they are not Christians), cannot possibly govern righteously. You loath those Democrats, who (since they are pro-abortion), must be on the side of evil.

I know. You fear and loath those “Christians” who are questioning the basics of the faith as you’ve always known them. You read articles and books and hear people warning you about some “Emerging Church” that is trying to destroy the Gospel.

“No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.” –Edmund Burke, On the Sublime and Beautiful (1757)

“God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:17)

"But I say to you who hear, love your enemies...Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?" –Jesus (Luke 6:27, 41)

"Now hatred is by far the longest pleasure; men love in haste, but they detest in liesure." –Lord Byron, Don Juan (1819-24)

Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,
nor fear the dangers of the day,
nor dread the plague that stalks in darkness,
nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
–The Bible (Psalm 91:5-6)

“God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self- discipline.”
–The Apostle Paul (2 Timothy 1:7)

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
–Franklin Roosevelt, Inaugural Address (1933)

“Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?”
–Jesus (Matthew 8:26)


James said...

You have captured my setniments exactly. I have been dismayed to see how quickly the evangelical community has fallen into the same pattern of behavior as the world. Find an enemy, demonize the enemy, avoid even the appearance of thinking and above all avoid the real problem. Democrats, Liberals = traitors. What ever happened to our being strangers and aliens in this land? Whatever happened to the realization that our home is not here? As for emergent or postmodern - you can either view it as danger or opportunity. I choose opportunity, after all a very similar world view never daunted Paul.
West Central Ohio

lyricano said...

So, are you saying that those fears are unjustified or that the object of those fears should not be feared?

Or, as I suspect, that both are true. It seems to me that liberalism is rapidly disappearing under the assault of conservative Christians, the United States is more Christian than ever, and liberalism never should have been feared. Fear has won and the evidence is the increasing fear.

Anonymous said...

people who live in fear, hate

Miche said...

Hey B-o-b
I wish I knew church history well enough to talk about this confidently, but when has not having all the facts stopped me from opining about the church? Lol. The church has had powerful influence in politics throughout its history, but when it is meaningful, it seems like this influence stems out of an actual spiritual movement. All I am seeing from church "leaders" today is an attempted power grab, and not because it is a byproduct of a biblically based spiritual movement. These evangelicals boldly pontificate as wise �sages� about our culture, yet they are big losers in giving any example of exemplifying true spiritually centered, and life-changing ways of impacting our culture. It is no more than a cheap power grab, like any other political action committee. My non-christian friends rightfully scoff because they see right through it.

�Oh, that�s right, we are the American church so we do everything right. :)


Bob Robinson said...

Thanks, Miche.

Do you not see spiritual movement in any of the following?

The Emerging Church

Call to Renewal/Jim Wallis

Evangelicals for Social Action

The ANE's recent An Evangelical Call to Civic Responsibility

Miche said...

I see more of a political drift than a spiritual movement, but I would not insist that there are no spiritual aspects to it.

When I see the emergent church rattling the cage of our culture as much as it is doing so to the modern evangelical establishment (and I truly LOVE watching this!), then I will get very excited about its spiritual implications.

There is something very wrong when the evangelical church, modern or postmodern, is quibbling over political strategies more than influencing our culture spiritually (or confusing the one for the other). Political impact should only be a by-product of our faith, not its main emphasis in engaging others with our religion.

For me, the modern church is hopeless, and I cannot ever think of having anything to do with it again. I am still watching this emergent thing with constraining hope.