Pastor and Lay Counseling
March 30, 2013
Jesus and the Disinherited, Chapter Two, Fear
I’ve read a lot of things about “fear.” There’s the fear of failing in the eyes of others, the fear of self-failure and God-failure, the fear of what other think about me, fears of an unknown future, and many practical fears about family and friends with their jobs and illnesses and relationships. While the kind of fears I normally deal with are important, the kind of fear Thurman writes about is different in its oppressive, relentless pursuit to dispossess and marginalize. The fear Thurman talks about is the concrete, real presence of political and religious powers who use their powers and religion to crush the spirits of people. He writes: “Fear is one of the persistent “hounds of hell” that dog the footsteps of the poor, the dispossessed, the disinherited… When the power and the tools of violence are on one side, the fact that there is no available and recognized protection from violence makes the resulting fear deeply terrifying.” And: “There are few things more devastating than to have it burned into you that you do not count and that no provisions are made for the literal protection of your person.” Of course not all fear is bad. God made us so to fear the tornado that spins on the horizon, heading our way. Not to fear this is not to care about friends and families. This is fear as, says Thurman, a “safety device.” Thurman asks: “The crucial question: Is there any help to be found in the religion of Jesus that can be of value here?… Did Jesus deal with this kind of fear? If so, how did he do it? What did he say?” First of all, Jesus came into a fear-filled world of oppressed and captive peoples. He quoted from the book of Isaiah, and implied that the Spirit of the Lord was upon him and had anointed him to do such things. Thurman looks at Jesus' humanism very concretely. He is a man in this world, and must suffer some...