But... Why Are We Afraid?

a woman mountain climbing, hanging in mid-air
Image by mohamed Hassan

So why don’t we go for it? Why don’t we reach out for what we really want? Why don’t we strive to get what God really wants for us? Why don’t we take the risks and confront the challenges to be silenced or heard, rejected or accepted—to fail or to succeed?

We Are Afraid

Hard and harsh truth be told: We are afraid of anyone or anything that is different from us or foreign to us, incompatible with us, contrary to us. We fear “The Other”—an idea, a value, a person, a community, a nation—that is unlike our own. We fear challenge and change that threatens our beings and our existence.

It used to be that some of us could count on the institutions and systems that held our little part of the world steady and firm. We had faith in our schools, our banks, our doctors and hospitals, our government, our religious communities.

Now, much of what sustained us seems to be crumbling right before our eyes. Nothing is the same. We worry about our children’s educations; our finances, pensions, and retirement; our health care; our fractured and broken government leaders and courts; our countries split into seemingly irreconcilable political factions. Even our churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples that once held the center and created a sense of community and social responsibility now seem to be losing focus and are becoming irrelevant to many.

Change is inevitable, and we are the witnesses and participants in a massive shift that portends the new, perhaps even axial, age that is coming. For some, this is extremely exciting as we plunge forward into new vistas and unimagined opportunities.

But many fear the unknown. This kind of world-shattering change challenges longstanding, comfortable, steadfast beliefs and behaviors. Our safer, surer world is falling apart. And we are afraid.

We are afraid because we have no idea what is coming next. We fear the uncertain, the unforeseeable, the unpredictable. We are afraid of the dark in which we sit before the new dawn.

That is why so many cling to what is already known, what is secure, what seems safe. The certainty and the comfort of the past shields against the bewildering and unsure possibilities of the future. Some people hang on as tightly as possible to what was, so they need not face what might be.

Moving Forward?

This rigid grip can lead to the kind of narrow thinking and stubborn inertia that keeps the world from moving forward. Most often they are political, and/or religious, and/or social Conservatives, that is, Conservative with a capital C. They posit that their conservatism is the way to hold on to the known, comfortable past and to honor individuality and personal autonomy. Their views are countered by progressives who advocate robust diversity, shared social responsibility, and the celebration of the common good.

Sadly, it is not enough for fundamentalists or extremists of every place on the ideological spectrum to do so for themselves alone. They think it is their duty to convince all the rest of humanity to embrace their positions. They play on our fears. They insist that they, and only they, know the real Truth—that is, Truth with a capital T. So in essence they say: We are right about this. Our stance is the best. We are certain that it is best for you and for our world too. If you do not believe us, if you do not accept our worldview, then we will try to reason with you. If that does not bring you to our side, we will try to radicalize you. If that does not work, we will terrorize you. If that does not work, then with harsh words and terrifying deeds, we will strike out against you and kill you.


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And so, we are afraid of the bullet in the noonday sun. We are afraid of the bombings of our buildings and subways; the mass shootings in our theaters, nightclubs, and places of worship; the vehicle attacks on our streets. We are outraged that our children’s playgrounds have become killing fields. We are furious about the bomb threats against our preschools. We are insulted by the physical pat-down at airport security lines. We are brokenhearted by our loss of innocence. And we are afraid to stand up to radical fundamentalists, terrorists, or killers in our communities—lest we be declared their sworn enemies and become their new favorite targets.

Let’s Tell It Like It Is

Any group or person who tries to impose beliefs or behavior on others must be stopped from discrimination and intimidation. Everyone has a right to personal or communal belief and passion. No one has a right to force that belief or passion on anyone else.

Fundamentalism is poisoning our world. So mainstream, moderate Jews must stand up to the rigid ultra-Orthodox; mainstream, moderate Protestants must stand up to evangelicals; mainstream, moderate Catholics must stand up to arch-conservatives; mainstream, moderate Muslims must stand up to radicals. And mainstream moderates of every place on the gender, racial, and political spectrums must stand up to misogynists, white supremacists, neo-Nazis, neo-fascists, and anti-Semites. We can no longer let the “big, bad bullies” of this world terrorize us or control our lives. We can no longer be afraid.

The Antidote to Fear

There is only one antidote to fear: Love. It will take love to overcome the fundamental hatreds and self-righteous sense of superiority that reside in some hearts. Love wipes away the fear and brings the light of understanding, tolerance, acceptance, and embrace.

We can send our love energy out into the world so that it can enter still-misguided hearts. We can make a world not of terror and fear, but of serenity and hope, love and peace.

The whole world is a narrow bridge.
The main thing is to not make yourself afraid.
            
   ~ Chasidic Rabbi Nachman - 1772-1810

Copyright 2021. All Rights Reserved.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher
Monkfish Book Publishing. MonkfishPublishing.com/

Article Source

Radical Loving: One God, One World, One People
by Wayne Dosick.

book cover: Radical Loving: One God, One World, One People by Wayne Dosick.For many of us, it feels as if our world is breaking apart. Long-held, comfortable beliefs are being shattered, and we face unprecedented questions and challenges. How do we heal the harsh divisions of class, race, religion, and cultures that plague us? How do we vanquish sexism, rigid fundamentalism, unabashed nationalism, senseless hatred, and violent terrorism? How do we save our precious planet from the threats to its very existence?

In this book is a bold, visionary, Spirit-filled blueprint for the redemption, transformation, and evolution of our emerging new world through radical loving and a day-to-day sense of the sacred. With age-old wisdom wrapped in contemporary garb, sweet, inspiring stories, keen insights, and gentle guidance, Radical Loving is a call to renewal and to Oneness―a promise that Earth can be Eden once again.

For more info and/or to order this book, click here

About the Author

photo of RABBI WAYNE DOSICK, Ph.D., D.D.RABBI WAYNE DOSICK, Ph.D., D.D., is an educator, writer, and spiritual guide who teaches and counsels about faith, ethical values, life transformations, and evolving human consciousness. Well-known for his quality scholarship and sacred spirit, he is the rabbi of The Elijah Minyan, a retired visiting professor at the University of San Diego, and the host of the monthly Internet radio program, SpiritTalk Live! heard on HealthyLife.net. He is the award-winning author of nine critically acclaimed books, including the now-classic Living JudaismGolden RulesThe Business BibleWhen Life Hurts20 Minute KabbalahSoul JudaismThe Best is Yet To BeEmpowering Your Indigo Child, and, most recently, The Real Name of God: Embracing the Full Essence of the Divine.

For more info, visit https://elijahminyan.com/rabbi-wayne

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