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Scott Bader-Saye – Following Jesus in a Culture of Fear: Choosing Trust over Safety in An Anxious Age

Revised and Updated Version Brazos Press ISBN 978 1 578 1 56743 452 5 Price £12.99 199 pages

At the beginning of this book the author quotes a line from novelist and essayist Marilynne Robinson:

“My thesis … is very simply stated, though it has two parts: first, contemporary America is full of fear. And second, fear is not a Christian habit of mind.”

It is this simple thesis that Scott Bader-Saye helpfully explores in this book.

2020 has had more than its fair share of fear, and it looks as if we will not be out of the woods very soon in 2021.

In 11 chapters the author suggests that we need to learn how to understand how fear works. There are, he writes, unhealthy disordered fears that can manipulate, terrorize and imprison us. Fear can be used as a weapon by relatives, church leaders and politicians to intimidate and control us. I felt a little uncomfortable by the way the author only uses US Republican politicians as examples of those who instil the wrong kind of fear, as if no member of the Democratic Party could put a foot wrong.

The author explains that we can fear the wrong things and we can fear things in the wrong way. Excessive fear can make it impossible to find rest.

The suggested antidote to this is learning to trust in a God who loves us. It is this attitude that gives a person the breathing space to avoid insecurity and suspicion and be open to God and others, even when such openness means us taking a risk.

John Woods is a writer and Bible teacher based in West Sussex

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