Monday, September 24, 2007

Fear is the Mindkiller

I was driving home the other day, and started thinking about fundamentalism and fear. It seems to me that there are three things that terrify fundamentalists (at least the Christian ones):
  • The Mystery of the Father
  • The Mercy of the Son
  • The Movement of the Holy Spirit

Fundamentalism at its core, no matter the stripe, lusts for control. They strive to keep everything in a nice, airtight compartment that answers all questions, defines all doctrines, and allows for a paint-by-number approach to life. This closed system approach is threatened by the idea that God the Father cannot be bound up by our clever theologies, that God the Son would offer grace to all (even the enemy-du-jour), that God the Spirit would breathe life into His people and at the same time blow over their house of cards.

But as I reflected further, I decided it goes deeper than that. This appeal of control in the face of a fear-filled world is what attracts people to fundamentalism. We are all uneasy with a God who is transcendent, who doesn't fit our little schemes of fact, exposes them as schemes. It is much easier to find a rule book and try to follow it. The only problem is, rule book living creates narrow, rigid people who either become hateful, spiteful religionistas or collapse into disbelief and indifference when life throws them an exception to the rules.

It seems to me that the only way forward is to forsake fear of the world and return to a fear of the Lord (which, after all is the beginning of wisdom). The decision I have to make every day is whether I am going to seek the Lord and His will, no matter what, or shuffle along following after my own wants and desires. God is Mysterious, and Merciful, and Moves across His creation.

Open my eyes, illumine me, Savior divine.

1 comment:

Jim Somerville said...

I like this, Dub! I've been wondering what would happen to the church of Jesus Christ if we could learn to live by his command to "Fear not!"