Gabriel's Horn, Pastor George Weaver, June, 2018

posted Jun 1, 2018, 1:57 PM by Lois Kerchner   [ updated Jun 1, 2018, 1:58 PM ]

Facing Fear With Faith

    Adam Hamilton is the founding and senior pastor of the 20,000 member Church of the Resurrection in Kansas City, Missouri. As pastor to this large and diverse United Methodist congregation in America's heartland, he has seen the extent to which fear, anxiety and worry permeate life today. Fear wreaks havoc on relationships and communities and leads us into making bad decisions. It holds us back from the very things that promise lives of fulfillment and joy. Hamilton has witnessed the effects of fear up close.

    In a survey of his congregation on how fear affects them 2,400 people responded. Their eye-opening responses indicated that some eighty percent of these respondents admitted to living with moderate or significant levels of fear. Rev. Hamilton offers an insightful and impassioned reply in his recently released book that he has titled, Unafraid: Living with Courage and Hope in Uncertain Times.

    The Current Issues Sunday School Class that meets in the Fellowship House Parlor has used many of Hamilton's 25 books in the past, and I would suggest that this most recent one does not disappoint. One reviewer, Diana Butler Bass, suggests that Unafraid should be read by every American for its “honest assessment about the danger of nurturing fears and the power of facing them down.” Another reviewer, Father Richard Rohr, the director of the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, NM, calls it “A roadmap for facing our fears with faith,” and highly recommends it to others.

    Unafraid covers a lot of territory in 20 chapters over less than 250 pages. Some of the areas covered include crime, terrorism, failure, disappointment, change, finances, aging, dying and illness. Hamilton points out that “People spend a lot of time and emotional energy worrying about and fearing things that will never happen,'' and shares an acronym for these various fears which is as follows:

False; Events; Appearing; Real

Adam Hamilton is proposing another acronym that helps to capture four important steps that he considers throughout the book.

                Face your fears with faith.

                Examine your assumptions in light of the facts.

                Attack your anxieties with action.

                Release your cares to God.

    I am hoping that by now your appetite may have been whetted to try a taste of Unafraid for yourselves. Over the years I have been reading literature of various kinds, and this particular book is definitely well worth reading. When we finish studying this in Sunday School, my copy will be placed in the church library at Leola UMC and if you are in even more of a hurry, you might inquire about borrowing from other class members. Let me know what you think.

George Weaver, Pastor of Maturing Ministries