Observation # 5: The pervasive fear in the church is paralyzing. It inhibits genuine conversation and keeps us fixated on finding solutions, rather than launching into bold new adventures of faith. There is no way to move forward until we come to grips with the reality of fear. Dealing with fear requires deep personal and corporate spiritual practice. Only transformed people will have the ability to be a transformed church.
Cynthia's response: This is so, so true. If “perfect love casts out fear,” the opposite is sadly but equally true: “perfect fear casts out love.” And it shuts down just about everything else as well. Fear is always a tip-off that one is living at the egoic level of consciousness (or in the corporate mode, the “we-goic” level): that anxiety-prone hardwiring of the immature human mind that sees everything from its own self-interest and perceives through separation and scarcity. The only “cure” for fear is spiritual practice, which gradually heals this artificial split in the field of consciousness and restores the direct perception of abundance and connection. All other approaches to fear simply mask the symptoms, generally through reliance on illusory power and control to “fix” the external situation deemed to be broken.
Ironically, this healing of fear is at the very heart of the Jesus message, over which the church claims custodial rights but about which it knows so very little. “Do not be afraid, little flock: it is my Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom,” Jesus assures his followers in those immortal words of Luke 12: 32. And throughout his entire ministry, he teaches, models, and ultimately offers himself up in the kenotic (or “letting go”) practice which not only surmounts fear but transforms it.
Imagine what might happen if a whole group of Christian were to simply drop their terrified insistence that the church as we know it must survive and were instead to give themselves to that “deep personal and corporate spiritual practice” that makes it possible to fall through fear into perfect love. What might happen next? Whatever form it might take, it would certainly be REAL: a powerful new unleashing of the Jesus energy, no longer as that “mighty fortress” and “bulwark never ceasing” of times gone by, but as the river itself, ever flowing.