Managing Fear: Of God and Everything Else

Think

We begin reading the book of Romans, verses 1-7, covering God’s sovereignty, wrath, and grace. Achtemeier reminds us of the importance of understanding Paul within his context, using the linguistic and intellectual concepts of his time, including neo-Platonic dualism, Stoicism, the beginnings of rabbinic Judaism, and his understanding of the biblical prophets. “Although he was also influenced by and made use of other intellectual resources of his time, those other resources were fitted into a basic structure which understood God’s relationship to the world as that of Creator to creature. God is therefore the lord of [God’s] creation, and as the culmination of that Lordship, the Creator will finally bring the creation to the point he had envisioned for it from the beginning.” (p. xxiv)

This week we read Part 3,  “Managing Your Fears,” Chapter 12, “One More Point About Fear” of the T+P+A Big Read 2019, The Lifelong Activist. Rettig encourages, “As humans, we are subject to death, disease, disappointment, injury, loss, heartbreak, natural disaster and human-made disaster, among many other afflictions. Fear, in my view, is an entirely reasonable and understandable response to this reality. Then there are the many hardships, risks and rejections of the activist life. These give you even more reason, in my view, to be afraid. In other words, to paraphrase the old activist quip about outrage, ‘If you’re not afraid, then you haven’t been paying attention.’ So stop blaming yourself for your fears and start asking yourself this question instead: How should I respond to my fears?”

Do the exercise in this chapter called “Experiencing Fear Without Shame.” What happens when you write down the reasons for why you have been procrastinating on a task?

Pray

For June and July, in honor of Pride Month (and beyond) we are reading and praying over Our Lives Matter: A Womanist Queer Theology by Pamela R. Lightsey. This week we read Chapter 4, “The Biblical Crisis: God For Us.” She names some of what comes between God and Black lesbians: “experiences and training that tells them not only that God is made in the image of their oppressor but that God hates them categorically.” (p. 38) She responds back with: “…our experience with God – rather than how homophobic Black preachers have interpreted the text – demonstrates over and over again that God loves us just as we are, in our self-idenity and in our living out that identity. … We also know God as revealed to us in scripture. Queer Black Christian women believe there is a word from the LORD, indeed a liberating word from the LORD, and that that word can often be found in the Bible.”

C’mon over to People of the Books, our online book club in which we discuss this book and whatever else is on your mind or heart!

Act

Check out the Find Your FBCO Map to find your local faith-based community organizing affiliate and connect with the people who are working together to live out their dreams of a more just world! What’s going on in your living of the Gospel? Let us know in the comments, in our e-mail discussion group, or on social media.

Resources

  • Goss, R. Queering Christ: Beyond Jesus Acted Up, 2002.
  • Guest, Deryn. The Queer Bible Commentary. Edited by Robert E. Goss, Mona West, and Thomas Bohache. London: SCM Press, 2011.
  • Guest, Deryn. “The Conversion of Lydia.” The Queer Bible Commentary. Edited by Robert E. Goss, Mona West, and Thomas Bohache. London: SCM Press, 2011.
  • Hall, Suzanne DeWitt. Transfigured: A 40-Day Journey through Scripture for Gender-Queer and Transgender People. D.H. Strategies, 2018.
  • Hall, Suzanne DeWitt. Where True Love Is: An Affirming Devotional for LGBTQI+ Individuals and Their Allies. D.H. Strategies, n.d.
  • Isherwood, Lisa. “Queer Theology.” Cambridge Dictionary of Christian Theology. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press, 2011.
  • Lightsey, Pamela R. Our Lives Matter: A Womanist Queer Theology. Eugene: Pickwick Publications, 2015.
  • Loughlin, G. Queer Theology: Rethinking the Western Body, 2007.
  • Luther Seminary. “Enter the Bible,” n.d. http://www.enterthebible.org/.
  • Rettig, Hillary. “Solving v. Dithering” in The Lifelong Activist: How to Change the World Without Losing Your Way. New York, NY: Lantern Books, 2006. http://lifelongactivist.com/part-iii-managing-your-fears/8-adopting-the-three-productivity-behaviors-a-process-for-creating-behavioral-change/
  • Skinner, Matthew. “Acts” in Theological Bible Commentary. Edited by Gail R. O’Day and David L. Petersen. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2009.
  • “Stonewall Uprising.” PBS: American Experience, 11 June 2019. https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/stonewall/.
  • White, L. Michael. Scripting Jesus: The Gospels in Rewrite. San Francisco: Harper Collins, 2010.
  • Willimon, William H. Acts. Interpretation, a Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching. Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1988.

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