Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Consequences of Living in Fear

Back on January 9, I preached a sermon entitled "Will You Find Joy or Fear in 2011?"  I was preaching on Matthew 2:1-12--the story of the Magi coming to the child Jesus.  In it, I contrasted the joy the Magi experienced as they searched and found God with the fear Herod experienced (and all Jerusalem with him) when he felt threatened by the birth of a new king.  Living in fear results in violence-both emotional/spiritual as well as physical.

As an example, I shared about NY Times columnist Nicholas Kristof's thoughts about the motives of war criminals.  He described meeting warlords and soldiers responsible for committing atrocities such as rape, mutilation and murder on large scales, and he is always shocked at how nice and hospitable they usually are towards him as a guest and towards their own family or clan.  His hypothesis is that when people perceive a threat, especially in a group situation, they act on that fear and violence results, often in horrific ways.

The interview is well worth listening to--it's on the public radio program Being, formerly Speaking of Faith.

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