In the Shadow of the Shepherd

Carol Howard MerrittFear Not

I saw Divergent recently, a book and movie in which a strong female teenager lives in a dystopian, highly controlled world, where she doesn’t fit into the strict confines of society. The movie is violent, so I’m not saying that it would be perfect for youth-group consumption, but I will say that it made me think about fear. In Divergent the main characters are being trained in courage.  As part of the process they engage … Read More

Biblical Reflection: Fear Not?

Brian K. BlountFear Not

Fear not! Yeah, right. Good advice. Unrealistic expectation. There is simply too much of which we are and, really, should be afraid. Even with God around. It is easy to check, you know. One needs neither Greek nor Hebrew. A quick search of a good English translation of the Old and New Testaments suffices. In the NRSV, “fear” erupts some 303 times. The people who populate God’s narratives are “afraid”189 more times. And 51 additional … Read More

Gospel Music: Its Roots and Relevance

William N. HeardFear Not

Opera tenor Luciano Pavarotti, Rocker Eric Clapton, and jazz keyboardist Greg Phillinganes collaborate on a world stage, raising funds for an international community cause. The song “Holy Mother Hear My Cry” is backed up by a choir of singers draped in shiny black robes accentuated with gold stoles. The singers are continental Africans; the conductor, European. Clapton executes a B.B. King–esque rift as Pavarotti prepares for the final artistic thematic rise of the song to … Read More

Transformed Through Art

Debbie HoughFear Not

My journey with faith and art began in my childhood. Our home always had art supplies at the ready–pencils, craft papers, crayons, colored pencils, paint, and scissors. It seemed natural to use them to express the faith that was also integral to our home. Later, through a course at PSCE, “The Artist as Expositer,” Lamar Williamson challenged me to link faith and art in a deeper way. And my work on the Word Among Us … Read More

Overcoming Fear in Baltimore

Elizabeth Lovell MilfordFear Not

Throughout history, Baltimore, Maryland, has been the host to many stories of overcoming fear: In September 1814, as bombs burst along the shoreline of Baltimore’s Fort McHenry, a British invasion seemed imminent. But as the smoke cleared, a large American flag fluttered, and Francis Scott Key was inspired. Overcoming fear gave way to a song of hope that became our national anthem. In the midst of the Civil War, Harriet Tubman and other abolitionists guided … Read More

Jump Start

Keith SundbergFear Not

“Jump Start” is a crash course on Christian Education (CE) for new educators, pastors, and elders. The five-to-seven-hour event begins with a creative devotion, reflections on the participants’ philosophy of education, a list of observations about CE by seasoned educators, and then a discussion of creative ways to engage a congregation in faith formation. Rather than relegating CE to the traditional classroom, the group focuses on seeing Christian Education, worship, and mission as integrated. An … Read More