Welcome to First Line Fridays! First Line Fridays a fun meme hosted by Hoarding Books! The aim of the game? Grab the book closest to you and share the first line!
Title: Fear of the Other: No Fear in Love
Author: William H. Willimon
Genre: Christian Nonfiction
Length: 91 Pages (Paperback)
“Thanks to fellow Christians Donald Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and Ted Cruz. If not for them, I would not have been asked to write this book.
“I’m serious. Competing attempts among politicians to leverage our fear of others into votes for them led to the idea of a book that thinks of as Christians about the Other.” -Bishop Willimon, Fear of the Other (Introduction)
I don’t touch politics in my sermons. There are many of my colleagues who are bold and prophetic preachers who are willing to speak truth to power and are unafraid of the consequences.
However, many of my colleagues do not live in rural Pennsylvania.
One of the main reasons why I refuse to touch politics in my preaching is simply because it is not fair. It doesn’t seem right that I should get the opportunity to pontificate at length about my personal views and opinions while my church people sit silently in the pews.
Nevertheless, there are issues in the world that need to be discussed. Small group studies, in contrast to a sermon, a small group allows for discussion. Furthermore, small groups are highly Wesleyan. Small group meetings were key to the early Methodist movement.
In a small group, we can grow together and learn from one another. This little book by Willimon, a retired UMC bishop, was perfect for stimulating such discussion. Willimon emphasizes that the key to Christianity is love of one’s neighbor, especially when our neighbor is different from us.
This little book packs quite a punch. If you have been to seminary or studied intersectional race relations, none of this information will be new to you; however, Willimon presents his thoughts in a way that engages the reader and encourages discussion.
Our small group enjoyed discussing this book at a local restaurant in the evenings over coffee. Some young adults (ages 18-35) even joined us for discussion. This was of particular interest to me, because I know that my age group is particularly hard to engage in organized religion (We millennials are such free spirits!).
I recommend this book for small groups and anyone who is interested in learning more about how race and foreign affairs intersect with the Christian faith.
Dear Reader, now it’s your turn! What are you reading? Grab the book closest to you and share the first few lines with me in the comments below! After that, head over to Hoarding Books for more FLF fun!