One of these years I’ll get there. My parents and my sister Lori drove from Whitinsville MA in a Prius. Good Dutch immigrant thrift and practicality. My father reports and average of 50 miles per gallon.
Twitter is a good source of links. The hash tag is #ffwgr
- For many Americans, “the claiming of a religious identity has become more important than abiding in what that identity implies.”
- “People are gracious toward religious expression that is gracious to them.”
- “It is terrible to approach the world as a place antagonistic to what we value and believe.
- “We are huddled in psycho-emotional bomb shelters despite having very little to fear.”
- The prevailing notion of patriotism implies that “real patriots hate most of the people in their country.”
- Our culture of fear has allowed us to justify pre-emptive violence, such as “Stand Your Ground” and “shall carry” gun laws. Essentially, we are encouraged to ask ourselves, “Which image of God has gotten on your nerves enough that you need to carry a gun?”
Ann Kroeker: Why Do I Keep Coming Back
Kristin Tennant on The writer vs. fear Some good quotes from Ann Voskamp in this one.
One of the things apparent in watching the Twitter feed was that the Ann Voskamp presentation was amazing. My parents went to that and thought so too.
Addie Zierman: When “Worship Service” looks like a Festival
Heather: L’Chaim to the Dance of Life: Magic and Craft
David Clark: On the Possible Benefits of Resentment
Comments from Stan Vander Klay
Some comments and memories from my father on the Marilynne Robinson lecture that he posted on Calvin in Common
Marilyn Robinson in her plenary address “Casting Out Fear” (“there is no fear in love, for perfect love drives out fear….[I John 4:18]) took on “an increasing amount of fear in this culture,” and applied it specifically to the anxiety of Christians who believe that there is “a plot against religion” in our nation. She gave a suggestive mention of Fox News as stimulating that fear.
A sidebar to that is our fear of engaging with those of other religions (Islam etc.) as well as with those who declare themselves as having no religion. Common-sensically she said she found “more commonality” with those of other faiths than those of no faith as we engage either in respectful conversation about their alternative visions of the meaning of life. In her experience, she said that “…people are more than happy to be gracious to one who is gracious to them.” (Touche!) Her challenge was, “How much do we trust the religious faith we abide by?” She asked, “How much difference would it make in the world if we did?”
In general she opined that “fear is a stimulating focus. You get used to fearing and learn to accept it…” as your reality. “By historical standards our level of threat is small,” she said. “Why not enjoy it?”
Examples of the distortions of fear she cited were
1) “Patriotic enmity,” meaning the notion that “if you’re a real patriot you have to hate most Americans,” (who in your opinion are not patriotic enough.).
2) “Pre-emptive violence.” (Think our motivation to invade Iraq. Or the fear capitalized on by the NRA.)
It strikes me that the above as examples of “fear as a stimulating focus” become self-fulfilling prophecies of course.
Robinson counseled a “Calvinist Restraint” which sees everyone as an image-bearer of God will encourage “respect for those you may encounter.” “So, let’s talk ourselves out of a culture of fearfulness, because if you’re frightened….you don’t trust God.”
She speaks in a relaxed manner, a down-to-earth casualness, with a twinkle in her eye. In an interview on a later occasion with audience participation at the end of it, someone challenged her mention of Fox News suggesting that many of her listeners appreciate it. She simply answered with almost a shrug in her voice, “Well, I have to speak the truth as I see it.”
Notes from Ginger Fisher, my friend from CRC-Voices and Upstate NY
One Festival session that is sticking with me is the talk by Craig Barnes…”Writing for the Elder Brother.”
He’s been a Presbyterian pastor for 30 years, and his congregations
have mostly been made up of elder brothers…those who grew up in the church, don’t have dramatic conversion stories, have followed the rules and been good. Have boring confessions and can’t be molded into the prodigal son. (although some preachers try to do that) Their besetting sin is *anxiety.* Goodness of life depends on what one does.
Have you noticed that Jesus is not hard on doubters but scolds people who fear? Like the one who buried his one talent. Over and over we hear, “Do not fear!”
The elder brothers are always trying to choose the better life.
Self-constructed. Happiness is the goal.– “How can I be happier?”
Successful choices will never be successful enough.
People can’t be argued out of fear. It is not rational. They must
be loved out of fear. “Perfect Love casts out fear.”
Elder brothers think they deserve to be loved and are crushed
when bad things happen to them. And they happen.
Elder brothers need affirmation.
We tend to like dramatic people, not good people.
We don’t see their anxiety.
We need to appreciate their good choices.
That’s some what Craig Barnes said, and he used wonderful stories
to illustrate. He is an engaging pastor, preacher, and writer.
He knows his audience. since most of us at the festival were elder brothers who need to be reminded, ” Fear Not!”
It helped me.