Cover

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pp. C-C

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-vi

CONTENTS

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pp. vii-viii

Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

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Introduction

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pp. 1-10

We are emotional creatures. Our memories, our beliefs, our imaginations are all impacted by the emotions we experience on a daily basis. Emotions shape and color our world in truly fantastic and meaningful ways. However, our theologies and ideas about humanity often lack careful attention to our embodied emotional experiences. Moreover, the way we approach particular...

PART 1Why Fear? Why Now?

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1 This Emotional Life

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pp. 13-26

The Bible is full of moments when God and Jesus act with a passion driven by their emotions. Anger, compassion, love, sadness, and even fear all have places in the biblical narrative. God is often described as angry, jealous, compassionate, and/or loving. Yet, over time, Christian doctrine has been shaped by God’s...

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2 A Culture of Fear

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pp. 27-40

Fear permeates the fabric of our lives. Walking through the airport we hear a familiar and a soothing voice come over the loudspeaker claiming, “The terror alert level has been raised to orange.” We surf the Internet, and casually catch headlines that declare economic breakdowns, bombings in various countries, or the latest natural disaster. We flip through the television channels and catch...

PART 2 What Does It Mean to Be Afraid?

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3 Our Frightened Brains

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pp. 43-58

Simply put, I am afraid of spiders. I can remember countless experiences when I have been surprised by the appearance of spider and reacted in less-than-rational ways. While I wouldn’t describe myself as phobic, I do observe myself as more vigilant than most others in spaces where spiders are known to dwell. Part of the joke in our house is that our marriage vows included the agreement that...

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4 Communities of Faith, Communities of Fear

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pp. 59-70

Emotions intrude into and embellish the fabric of our culture and communities; they shape the ways we remember certain experiences; they form part of the backbone of the risks we take in interpreting and believing certain things about the world. Emotions are also part of the imaginative framework through which we project our expectations of the future. Mention the simple phrase “9/11”...

PART 3 A Pastoral Theology of Fear and Hope

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5 A Process Perspective

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pp. 73-90

I began my doctoral work firmly rooted, yet unsatisfied, with the Reformed tradition. While I remain a Presbyterian teaching elder, I find myself in a state of personal theological reformation. This began for me with the introduction of process theology1 in my doctoral work. Through this system of belief, I found myself claiming a new theological home. As I explored the various...

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6 Fear and Hope

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pp. 91-98

If you have made it this far, I hope that you are coming to realize how complex our experiences of the emotion of fear can be. It is an emotion that we cannot just switch off, never to be experienced again. It is a part of the way our brains work, and it is part of the way we experience the world. When we are afraid, we are doing nothing more than acting upon an embodied emotion and embedded...

PART 4 Responding to Our Fears

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7 Telling Ourselves a More Complex Story

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pp. 101-110

Words matter, a lot. Words form the backbone of the stories we tell, and stories are essential to our ability to relate effectively to the rest of the world. The words we use to tell a story shape what it means to us and to those who hear it; and, how we respond to stories can tell someone whether we are a safe person to talk to or not. Stories help us organize the meaning of our experiences as...

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8 Fear in the Public Sphere

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pp. 111-122

What have we learned about the emotion of fear so far? Well, the emotion of fear is an embodied emotional state meant to help us survive, cope, and thrive in a sometimes hostile and unpredictable world. It can be an adaptive, helpful, and even creative response to many of the threats we experience. Furthermore, there is a link between fear and the hopes we live out in present moments...

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9 Perfect Love Drives Out Fear

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pp. 123-140

Rather than denigrating the fear we experience, even those fears raised through manipulative means, we must find a way to transform the passions fear creates. The simple response to the manipulative ways that preachers, teachers, and politicians use fear to galvanize a community around their (often) personal projects is to react hopefully with acts of love; it is to seek and share the beauty...

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10 Conclusion: Finding Hope

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pp. 141-146

Finding hope in the stories that haunt us is no simple matter; it requires us to think about our experiences of the world in complex ways. To find hope in the moments that terrify us necessitates thinking about fear in new ways; this includes understanding the embodied nature of the emotion in our brains, and the embedded fears of our experiences. Moreover, it is important to remember...

Index

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pp. 147-148

Back Cover

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pp. BC-BC