Following Jesus in a Culture of Fear
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Following Jesus in a Culture of Fear

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Through politics, marketing, news programming, and popular culture we are taught to fear, often in ways that profit others. But what does all this fear do to our moral lives as it forms (or deforms) our character and our judgment? Drawing on Christian scripture and tradition, Following Jesus in a Culture of Fear articulates a response to fear that resists an ethic of security in favor of fostering an ethic of risk. The Christian virtues of hospitality, peacefulness, and generosity are presented as the way to defeat the counter-virtues of suspicion, preemption, and control. Pastors, students, and lay people will find this unique book both accessible and intriguing. EXCERPT Do not be afraid. We live in a time when this biblical refrain cannot be repeated too often. Both John Paul II in 1978 and his successor, Benedict XVI, in 2005 used these words to begin their papacies. Among all the things the church has to say to the world today, this may be the most important. No one has to be convinced that we live in fearful times, though we are not always sure what we should be afraid of and why. We suspect that our fears make us vulnerable to manipulation, but we find it hard to quell the fear long enough to analyze how it is being produced and directed for the benefit of others. One reason we are a more fearful culture today, despite the fact that the dangers are not objectively greater than in the past, is because some people have incentives and means to heighten, manipulate, and exploit our fears. Fear is a strong motivator, and so those who want and need to motivate others--politicians, advertisers, media executives, advocacy groups, even the church--turn to fear to bolster their message. I call this the "fear for profit" syndrome, and it is rampant. We have become preoccupied with unlikely dangers that take on the status of imminent threats, producing a culture where fear determines a disproportionate number of our personal and communal decisions. The sense of ever-increasing threats can overwhelm our ability to evaluate and respond proportionately to each new risk, thus we allow fear to overdetermine our actions.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 176 pages
  • 149.86 x 223.52 x 12.7mm | 226.8g
  • Baker Publishing Group
  • Brazos Press, Div of Baker Publishing Group
  • Ada, MI, United States
  • English
  • 1587431920
  • 9781587431920
  • 590,502

Back cover copy

Following Jesus in a Culture of Fear is part of The Christian Practice of Everyday Life series, dedicated to theological consideration of the concerns of everyday life. Series editors are David S. Cunningham and William T. Cavanaugh. "Bader-Saye has written a timely and provocative book concerning Christian resources of faith in a culture besot by fear. He draws upon compelling contemporary cases of such courageous action but shows, with equally compelling articulation, how such courage finally is deeply rooted in God's providence. His book is a bold theological exposition that has immediate and rich pastoral derivatives, all in the interest of an intentional church community acting congruently with its confession of faith." --Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary "Could it be that an account of providence is the key if we are to escape the fear that possesses Americans? That is exactly what Bader-Saye argues. He does so by providing an account of providence that does not promise safety but rather something far more important, that is, a way to go on with courage when we are not always able to 'make sense' of what has happened. His ability to help us 'see' our world through film and literature is itself a display of theological intelligence as rare as it is necessary." --Stanley Hauerwas, Duke Divinity School "Scott Bader-Saye offers us Christian practical wisdom we desperately need. Through insightful examples as well as rich biblical and theological analysis, he beautifully seduces us to trust God and to risk hospitality, peacemaking, and generosity. This is a profoundly hopeful, and hope-filled, book." --L. Gregory Jones, author of Embodying Forgiveness "What a marvelously lucid, engaging, and convincing book. Scott Bader-Saye singles out fear as the defining and largely self-imposed burden of our world. He diagnoses it with the aid of the great theologians and illustrates it from popular, personal, and political contexts. Not content with diagnosis, he offers a cure--cogent, compassionate, and Christian. This is an author who thinks with the practical wisdom of Aquinas and writes with an infectious zest. Here is a fresh voice to challenge and transform the anxieties of church and world." --Sam Wells, author of God's Companions and Improvisationshow more

About Scott Bader-Saye

Scott Bader-Saye (PhD, Duke University) holds the Helen and Everett H. Jones Chair in Christian Ethics and Moral Theology at Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas. He is the author of "Church and Israel after Christendom: The Politics of Election."show more

Rating details

57 ratings
3.84 out of 5 stars
5 23% (13)
4 49% (28)
3 19% (11)
2 7% (4)
1 2% (1)
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