What about Fear?

A confession: I go to church. I go every Sunday. I’m on the church council too, heck, I’m president of the Church Council. I say this with a little reluctance because as an aspiring horror writer I think there’s an assumption that you have to be a Satanist or an Atheist at least. What can I say; I’m a man of many apparent contradictions.

I see nothing wrong with this seeming conflict because I was fortunate enough to grow up in a church that encourages thinking and even…doubt. And doubts I have, trust me.

My church isn’t the church of sin and apocalypse, it’s the church of hope, reconciliation, and love. Believe it or not, I get some ideas for my stories or the themes within them from church sermons and liturgy.

I’ve wrestled over the years with many of the ideas I hear about in church. Hope was a big one for a long time because I just couldn’t find all that much to be hopeful about. That’s changed over the last year in part because of my writing, but now there is something else I’m wrestling with. I’m not sure how I feel about the whole fear thing.

I’m quibbling with progressive Christianity’s take on fear, that because we live in God’s world we have nothing to be afraid of. I’m sorry, but I’m still afraid of a lot of things. I’m afraid of going into ridiculous debt. I’m afraid of never paying off my student loans. I’m afraid of messing up as a parent. I’m afraid of dying alone.

All the things I’ve mentioned could be disastrous, I think. There are real things to be afraid of and shit, I haven’t even mentioned cancer. Regardless of how much God loves us there will be no divine intervention to save me. Religion, real religion, isn’t magic, and no one is going to save our asses from the scary things we can encounter in life.

Here’s what I think our interpretation of fear should be. It’s part of life. It can even be helpful. It’s helped us stick around as a species and evolve. But fear shouldn’t control us. We need to push on even though there are big scary things lurking around the corner.

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