The Fearful News

A reader writes:

Brian … In our Sunday morning Adult Forum we just started on the Via Media series. One point that was made in yesterday’s session was “The opposite of faith is not doubt but Fear”.
To me this was one of those “Epiphany Moments” when a major piece of the puzzle drops into place with a solid “Ka-Chunk”. This certainly explains a lot of attitudes. Thank you for proclaiming the Good News rather than the Fearful News.

I was talking with a young Christian leader recently who has been experiencing a good bit of intimidation within the religious organization to which he belongs. His wrongdoing? Raising honest questions. Rather than being welcomed, his questions are seen as a threat. As we talked, it was clear how pervasive fear can be in religious organizations … fear of being labeled wrong/heretical/liberal/”dangerous” … fear of donors who might stop giving if there is even a hint of openness to change … fear of honest dialogue about difficult subjects. Religious institutions can too easily become “fear rackets” – threatening with fear and then showing how the threats can be averted. Religious organizations seldom become dysfunctional enough to use lust as a major motivator (although it happens), but it’s surprising how many are fueled by fear (and greed, but that’s another subject for another day). No wonder God’s truth so often comes to people introduced with the words, “Fear not.”