May 4, 2015

Dear Friends and Family of the Diocese of Eau Claire,

Yesterday’s Epistle from 1 John 4:7-21 speaks of how love casts out fear. We live in an age in which we are plagued by fearful messages that claim you must protect yourself. Here are a few minor ones:
1. In buying a car you must have a warranty. The great car you just bought isn’t any good.
2. You need to pay for our purchase protection plan. Your new broom might break a bristle.
3. Someone might burglarize your home. You should imprison yourself with our security system.

Somehow many people get the notion that we should go through life risk free. The fear of something bad happening means we should do nothing rather than risk anything. The very thought of failure or misfortune implies terrible things will happen to us.

All this is baloney. We learn from failure, problems, or misfortune. We might be embarrassed or feel the fool, but we are engaged in life. The result is we have the opportunity to grow. As we understand and take calculated risks we stop living to avoid negatives and become people of hope and vision.

Connected to hope and vision are core values. What does God want of you and me? Jesus’ core value was love. This is where we can start. When we love God and love our neighbors as ourselves, love (as 1 John explains) drives out fear. In love we take calculated risks. We accept God’s call to do more. A vision is formed; we marshall resources to make the vision a reality. We accept and learn from our failings, and we adjust strategies to move forward. In so doing fear is cast aside and with healthy caution we have the opportunity to live in a faith that bears fruit. Love does conquer fear. It is a basic principle of the Gospel. This is Good News! With my love and best wishes, I am,

Your brother in Christ,