Race and Fear

I’ve written very little on the matter of Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman because it’s far too complex to button hole either person into the extremes I read about every day online.

But this article had some thoughts I resonated with. This thought in particular:

Fear is not a complex human emotion—it’s a primal one. It originates from the most buried and hidden portions of our brains, geographically the farthest from its more complex and nuanced regions. It is tenacious, and is rarely changed through conscious thought. So you cannot tell a person not to be afraid, or that they are foolish to feel frightened. If they are truly afraid, it is for nearly subconscious reasons that they themselves may not discern.

And therein lies the problem. We assume that a good education and fair laws alone will erase the fear of the alien and foreigner that we all harbor deep within our amygdalas. These are of course worthy and necessary goals, but we must admit that there are emotions and thoughts that even the most enlightened degrees and well-planned laws cannot touch. We cannot legislate, educate, or insult the fear out of people, because that emotion is buried too deep. And so these tools are inadequate in truly preventing and uprooting prejudice.

It is here the Church should have something to say. Yet, I hear as much fear inside the Church as out. I hear the extremist reactions from Christians as much as non-Christians. We have a King who could say, “Fear not…” and yet we fear.

Fear can’t be “ordered” out of people. It can, however, be trained out of people. That is the power of the Kingdom of God. That is why the Church should be leading the way in this matter. Yet, we are deliberately ignoring the commands of our Lord. We continue to live in fear.

Does the Kingdom “work” or does it not?

I still battle. I don’t have any of this completely right. Yet, I DO know that if my King says “Fear not,” it IS a Kingdom possibility and not just a suggestion.



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