Item description for Following Jesus in a Culture of Fear (The Christian Practice of Everyday Life) by Scott Bader-Saye...
Overview For Christians living in an age of fear, providence offers an antidote to anxiety and a basis for peace.
Publishers Description Through politics, marketing, news programming, and popular culture we are taught to fear, often in ways that profit others. But what does all this fear do to our moral lives as it forms (or deforms) our character and our judgment? Drawing on Christian scripture and tradition, "Following Jesus in a Culture of Fear "articulates a response to fear that resists an ethic of security in favor of fostering an ethic of risk. The Christian virtues of hospitality, peacefulness, and generosity are presented as the way to defeat the counter-virtues of suspicion, preemption, and control. Pastors, students, and lay people will find this unique book both accessible and intriguing. EXCERPT Do not be afraid. We live in a time when this biblical refrain cannot be repeated too often. Both John Paul II in 1978 and his successor, Benedict XVI, in 2005 used these words to begin their papacies. Among all the things the church has to say to the world today, this may be the most important. No one has to be convinced that we live in fearful times, though we are not always sure what we should be afraid of and why. We suspect that our fears make us vulnerable to manipulation, but we find it hard to quell the fear long enough to analyze how it is being produced and directed for the benefit of others. One reason we are a more fearful culture today, despite the fact that the dangers are not objectively greater than in the past, is because some people have incentives and means to heighten, manipulate, and exploit our fears. Fear is a strong motivator, and so those who want and need to motivate others--politicians, advertisers, media executives, advocacy groups, even the church--turn to fear to bolster their message. I call this the "fear for profit" syndrome, and it is rampant. We have become preoccupied with unlikely dangers that take on the status of imminent threats, producing a culture where fear determines a disproportionate number of our personal and communal decisions. The sense of ever-increasing threats can overwhelm our ability to evaluate and respond proportionately to each new risk, thus we allow fear to overdetermine our actions.
From Publishers Weekly The latest volume in the Christian Practice of Everyday Life Series (What About Hitler? etc.) explores the tension between Christian ethical imperatives and the anxieties of the post-9/11 world. Bader-Saye, who is an associate professor of theology and religious studies at the University of Scranton, is primarily concerned with the impact that these anxieties are having on the practices of hospitality, peacemaking and generosity. Acknowledging that many of our fears are well grounded, he believes that the best way Christians can reclaim their ethical heritage is by pooling their risk at the local level. He cites Taize, the ecumenical French monastery, as an example of how pooled risk can counteract typical 21st-century fears and calls the practice of hospitality a "parable of courage in community." Anxiety and despair can also be opposed, he believes, through reclamation of God as providential parent. He writes, "Providence, at its heart, has to do with the conviction that our lives and our world constitute a coherent story, a drama, in which God and humankind, together, drive the story toward its proper conclusion." While some Christian groups may feel a certain obviousness to what he has to say, many, especially the mainline denominations, can learn much from this cogently argued and elegantly written volume. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Citations And Professional Reviews Following Jesus in a Culture of Fear (The Christian Practice of Everyday Life) by Scott Bader-Saye has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Publishers Weekly - 03/26/2007 page 86
Christian Century - 10/16/2007 page 38
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Studio: Brazos Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.9" Width: 5.9" Height: 0.5" Weight: 0.65 lbs.
Release Date Jun 1, 2007
Publisher Baker Publishing Group
Series Christian Practice of Everyday Life
ISBN 1587431920 ISBN13 9781587431920
Availability 0 units.
More About Scott Bader-Saye
Scott Bader-Saye (PhD, Duke University) holds the Helen and Everett H. Jones Chair in Christian Ethics and Moral Theology at Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas. He is the author of "Church and Israel after Christendom: The Politics of Election."
Scott Bader-Saye has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about Following Jesus in a Culture of Fear (The Christian Practice of Everyday Life)?
Forget the fear Oct 13, 2008
This is an excellent treatment of how governments, candidates, companies can use fear of things that are very unlikely to occur to further their purposes. Bader-Sayes treatise shows how to evaluate fear and put it in its proper place in the scheme of the Christian Life. Highly recommend this book to persons who fall prey to this fear mongering.
A Vitally Important Book Jul 25, 2008
In this short but spot-on book, Scott Bader-Saye examines modern and postmodern culture and the prevalence of fear based thinking and media content within it as well as the effect this thread of our cultural fabric (which has become significantly more dominant in the years following the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks) has on Christian morals, ethics and, most importantly, practice. By examining our culture's present emphasis in all areas of life on "safety" as being the most important thing we can all agree on (in a sense, our culture's present metanarrative) Bader-Saye discusses three cultural practices that have arisen due ot this emphasis: suspicion, preemption and accumulation.
Following this introduction is what I feel to be the true heart of the book; chapters on what fear is and why it is a natural and healthy response to threat, how fear can be dealt with in an intelligent and Christian manner, the importance of community in dealing with fear and having courage and, finally, a powerful discussion of a meaningful view of the idea of Providence in the context of God's narrative story for humanity. These chapters draw heavily from the writings of the ancient, premodern church. Most important among these are works by Aquinas and Augustine. Lest these references become to ponderous for or distanced from the reader, Bader-Saye also weaves into his discussion numerous examines from today's life including U2, "Security Moms" as a politcal force. the Taize movement and the Star Wars story arc.
From these considerations flow discussions on Christian practice in three broad areas: hospitality, peacemaking and generosity. In each practice the abuse of the idea of Providence to justify behavior that is unchristian in ethic is discussed followed by a more Biblical view. Specific examples of proper practice are discussed and contrasted with cases where fear based solutions where shown to be inadequate. If there is to be any disagreement with the subject matter of the book, I expect it would be in these areas as they are often critical present practice by those in positions of power in our culture.
I decided to read this book in preparation for a Bible study I will be leading in the Fall for a group of college age students focusing on the truly revolutionary nature of Christianity a compared to many of the so-called revolutions modern culture has produced. I found this book to be extremely relevant in terms of preparing for the study as well as in thinking about my own role in a culture of fear.
I highly recommend this book to anyone wrestling with or trying to live out Christ's radical and revolutionary message in a world where fear and its derivatives seem to be the dominant theme in public discourse and decision making.
I Will Fear No Evil Jan 25, 2008
Everything in our culture, from T.V. commercials to politicians, the evening news and even ther church (Y2K is a good example) is aimed at producing fear in it's listeners. The goal of much of this fear is the profit of the one selling us a product or wanting us to agree to their fear driven political agenda. The horrid truth is that "fear sells." It attracts listeniers to the evening news, sells products to protect us from harm, etc. Fear also issolates us from others and stops us from practicing hospitality and generosity. We need to get smart and start to tune out at least some of the bad news and start filling ourselves with the good news of the Scriptures. Not that we should be ignorant as to what is going on in the world, but we were not created to live on a constant dose of fear producing messages. No wonder the Scriptures tell us that in the last days men's hearts will fail them for fear (Luke 21:26).
In Psalm 23 God promises that if we keep our eyes on him, he will make us to lie down in green pastures and lead us beside quite waters. Even when walking through the valley of the shadow of death, we will not need to fear any evil for our Savior (delieverer) will be with us. Our all pwerful creator has a table prepared for us to peaceful set down and eat in the presence of our enemies all the while enjoying his company. That's how how I want to live my life. My other favorite Scripture on fear is Psalm 91. I gave the book a four star rating because even though there was much good inormation in the book, I didn't agree with all the author had to say.
An Important Book for our Time -- A Good Read Which Could Generate Important Discussion Dec 11, 2007
Bader-Saye's Christian account of providence as contained in this book is important, and I think timely, for today's world. The title is apt, and the themes treated within are theologically compelling and helpful. This book is a needed tool for any person seeking to understand more fully what it means to follow Jesus in a fear-driven world.
I have given this book four stars for a reason, as I found it a good, but not great read. This book has three important things to offer: (1) an excellent treatment of the doctrine of providence and its importance for today; (2) a presentation of Christian hospitality that, if adhered to, would strengthen the witness of the church; and (3) discussion questions that are helpful at the conclusion of every chapter. This book can equip the individual, yes, but may be of more service to a community of people seeking together the best way to live in our world.
Timely Dec 9, 2007
This is a very timely book and well done.
The one thing I think could be added in is how much the God speaks to us in the Bible, and I believe today, about not being afraid. HE is constantly saying, "Don't be afraid."