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Be Not Afraid -- It's in Scripture

What does it take to live on the other side of fear? I’ve been finalizing a manuscript project entitled Living on the Other Side: Sacred Bewilderment, Holy Rage, and a Freedom Beyond Forgiveness. The whole point is to play with this notion of sides while honoring I truly do seem to be on the blessed-freeing end of a long journey out of shame, rage, certainty, even the divine abandonment of women in centuries of historic wisdom traditions.* 


Writing the book has been healing for me, making me more whole than I’ve ever been. There really is a freedom beyond forgiveness that I knew nothing about, but which somehow I do now, which somehow found me along the way. A true linear-professional scholar would focus on the forgiveness–what it is, how it works, how God is clearly the Actor within it. Again, blessedly, that has never been my approach.


Then it arose in me this morning to ask, given some deep-belly energies I could feel … Sadness? Anxiety? Fear? What would it take to live on the other side of fear? Wow wouldn’t that be a great thing to know, to live into somehow? Particularly given it is perhaps the most repeated imperative in Scripture? Be not afraid. [365 times, supposedly]. 


It’s become trite this summer: I over-react viscerally and psychologically to a microaggression or small ambiguous action from a student in my online course. Not only does it not deserve the energy I’m expending, it doesn’t even deserve this post. I know the antecedents and curricular choices I will make in the future–good professional risk and learning from it. A more significant gift I’m claiming is feeling this visceral, deep-belly energy of fear when there is no real threat. This could be for the book.


Previous learnings are not the gift here, that I know. Of course it drives my poor Enneagram-Two Heart crazy if some student or two or three dislikes, hates, even utterly disregards me. But I know to sit in that fear, welcome it, befriend it, getting a little more free of my ego-grasping in the process. 


It’s also not the gift when my direct-redress verbal approach to a conflict is rebuffed, avoided, utterly refused. There I am reminded my gift of teaching is really not for everyone, nor are they for me. Most amusing instances being TSA personnel, which I have literally tried to teach either middle-eastern peace-histories or the handheld Chartres labyrinth as prayer with a stylus. 


No, I think the gift is naming, describing, interpreting this sensation of fear–its origins, its signal of an intergenerational wound, its needing to be held gently anew


It dawns on me: to live on the other side of fear actually requires letting go of the authority of scripture as Protestants have conceived of it. Not letting go of these texts as authoritative witness, but releasing our scholarly idolatries, one by one…


Let irony pave the way…


[*If you disagree with this statement, I recommend you stop reading now, for both our sakes. Or buy the book when it comes out, which is where I make my case for the statement.]



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Guest
4 days ago

I listen as I read, riding on the high of your confidence and certainty, and reveling in the freedom your words express.

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Guest
5 days ago

Read Back Line:

...I think the gift is naming, describing, interpreting this sensation of fear–its origins, its signal of an intergenerational wound, its needing to be held gently anew


It dawns on me: to live on the other side of fear actually requires letting go of the authority of scripture as Protestants have conceived of it. 


I love you and I'm positively giddy 🤗 that I get to sit at your feet and walk by your side as we navigate Spirit's invitation to each of us.

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Guest
5 days ago
Replying to

This is Heather by the way 😉

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Hess Condensed

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