There are a lot of things I fear. Like windows without blinds (seriously) and heights.
And there are a lot of things I do not fear.
I'm also not afraid of Buddhists or scientists or flying spaghetti monsters.
I'm not afraid of questions or doubt or skepticism.
I'm not scared of any government or capitalist or communist. I'm not even afraid of Trump.
I'm not afraid of refugees or illegal immigrants or legal ones.
I do not fear gay people or trans people or people we can't categorize in neat and tidy ways.
Along the same lines, I'm not afraid of finding someone in the "wrong" bathroom. I'm just not.
I'm not afraid of political correctness or laws that make room for other people's belief systems.
I'm not afraid of the super rich or the desperately poor, people on welfare or people in penthouses.
In my greatest moments I'm not even scared of those who wish me harm or those who tell me I'm wrong.
I do my best not to be afraid of people who don't look like me, act like me, speak like me, or believe like me.
I am, however, afraid of the way I and others like me misrepresent Jesus. I'm afraid people may reject Jesus because they see me and decide if this is what Jesus is about, they want no part of it.
I'm afraid the Kingdom of Me is a whole lot more appealing than the Kingdom of God. I fear that I seek first my reputation and status and rights. I'm scared to think that I would chose safety and security or comfort and complacency over faithfulness.
I'm afraid our commitment to political opinions is stronger than our willingness to "love your neighbor as yourselves." I'm afraid that our quest for power and position and privilege leaves us overlooking the very people for whom Jesus would be most concerned.
I'm afraid I don't have enough friends who are prostitutes or tax collectors. I'm fearful I exclude outsiders and those whose lives look messy. I'm afraid I too easily look down on or insult those who look, act, and believe differently.
I'm afraid all our boycotts and clever memes and FWD: FWD: FWD: emails (and blog posts) will do nothing to bring about the world God desires. I'm fearful that we've traded Good News for bad news, an eternal perspective for a temporary one.
I'm afraid that I desire to be right more than I desire to be loving.
I'm afraid that when we respond in fear to people, politics, religions, and whatever things are different than us, we are not responding in the way of Christ. I'm afraid that fearing "the other" will leave me only loving myself.
Most of all I'm scared I will raise my kids to be afraid of the people they are called to love. I'm afraid I will so want to save my children's lives that they will lose the only life that matters in the process.
That terrifies me far more than terrorism does.
As a general rule I avoid ladders and roofs and other things from which the greedy hands of gravity wish to remove me. My discomfort with heights is stronger than my desire to have clean gutters. My fear wins out.
Since fear often determines my behavior I want be sure to fear the right things.
I want to avoid division and exclusion. I want to build bridges, not walls. I want to learn from people who see things differently. I want to hear the stories of those I don't understand. I want to break bread with people who have dreams and fears of their own; people who have value to my God.
I long to set aside things I want in order to serve and love the people everyone else seems to fear. I don't want any part of pushing people away because they vote or live or believe differently than I do. I want less of "us and them" and just a whole lot of "us."
When we do that we'll all be better for it. When we do that we'll look more like Jesus, who fears none and loves all. And I believe when we look more like Jesus everything changes. And when everything changes, there will be nothing left to fear.