Shuck and Jive

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Fear or Hope?

Good words from Jim Wallis of Sojourners, Be Not Afraid:

In the final days of this election campaign, a new message has emerged...and it is this: “Be Afraid— Be Very Afraid.” Most of that fear is directed at Barack Obama, the leading candidate with just days to go before November 4. Instead of being content to offer a competing policy vision to Obama’s, the Right has now focused on the man himself in an attempt to stir the fears of the electorate that “he” is not really like “them.” “Do we really know who Barack Obama is?” has been the refrain of partisan peddlers. A parallel and ugly national innuendo campaign stokes the fear. Is he a Muslim? An Arab? A pal of terrorists? Or maybe even a closet Socialist? Where did he grow up? Why such a funny middle name? Doesn’t his support come from those parts of the country (and those people) that deep down inside are anti-American? And, of course, what has quickly become a campaign classic—guilt by association.

Regardless of whether one favors Obama or McCain, this development should be of concern to all Americans, and especially people of faith. There is now a new spiritual dimension to this election, and it is decidedly evil. Christians believe that “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out all fear…” (1 John 4:18.) There are, of course, good and decent motivations to vote either way in this election. Strong people of faith will be marking different boxes on Election Day, but for people of faith there will be a spiritual decision to be made as well. Will we put our trust in the power of fear or hope? (Read More)
This election is going to show that appealing to fears while it has worked in the past is not going to work this time. Too many people are watching this one. There is a resurgence among people to act not from fear but from hope.

I see this in the PC(USA) as well. Fear, fear, fear regarding our amendments to become a more inclusive denomination. It isn't going to work this time. Those who might have been cowed by the fear-mongering in the past are cowed no longer. This year is a turning point. Enough people are going to be motivated by hope and possibility rather than fear. It is a new day and the hopeful people are invited to seize it.

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