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Saturday, November 21, 2015

the god of fear

We wear it like a badge of honor. It is a sign of wisdom, proof of discernment and good sense. We are quick to confess it, proud to reveal that we feel it, and prouder still when our obedience to it informs our decisions and guides our actions. It's worshipped in our politics, our planning, our churches, and our families.

We talk about it with the assumption that it is justified. We refer to it like it should be obvious. At the first sign of shame, we conceal it with words like "concern" and "being responsible".  We are convinced that it should be touted with confidence by anyone who has a true sense of the state of things - anyone who is informed or aware or who sees the pitfalls, dangers, or risks. Certainly it is prudent. Certainly we are in the right when we warn others about their reckless actions, or offer our opinions about the craziness of their choices.

At all costs we must never disobey this god. He demands our allegiance. He requires our constant deference. He insists that we forever bear his "cross of anxiety". It is VERY heavy, but we have long honed the muscle groups necessary to carry it.

How many things are left undone due to our devotion to this god?

We rarely venture onto the other side of the tracks. If we do, it is briefly and only to serve the related demi-god of guilt.

We applaud ourselves for standing alongside people we can identify with and pushing away those who need us most.

We don't hesitate to change our profile picture in support of one people group that was terrorized on one horrific Friday in November, but we refuse to hold out our hands to a group of people who've endured countless Fridays of terror, several years worth of homelessness and unknowns, and who've forgotten that 'security' even exists in this world.

We have no problems protecting our own children, while refusing others the opportunity to protect theirs

We hold onto conservative, American principles, proclaiming safety, liberty, and the pursuit of health, wealth, and happiness as if they are gospel truth, while the real Gospel message of unmerited grace to undeserving sinners is somehow ignored.

The god of fear enables us to worship family, comfort, safety, and security. It allows us to care for the less fortunate of our choosing, freeing us from debilitating thoughts of having to care for those who are different. It allows our guilt to be assuaged simply by placing a few bills in the offering plate, by sending a check to the most deserving go-fund-me campaign, or even by ‘liking’ a convicting post or hash-tagging whatever’s trending at the moment.

As we close our borders, we cripple our torch-bearer by disregarding the very inscription that she (and we) were once known for:

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" 

New Colossus by Emma Lazarus

Maybe that's why she's weeping.

weeping lady liberty

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