“Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom” – Soren Kierkegaard
“The tendency to claim God as an ally for our partisan value and ends is the source of all religious fanaticism. ” – Reinhold Niebuhr
“If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.” – Amit Ray
As we are talking about “Breaking Barriers” this month, we cannot help but address the fear that lives within the boundaries of our own making. These walls make us feel safe. Like the hastily formed garments made of fig leaves, they seem a necessary evil to protect us from our fears. Sure, they itch terribly, and we are dreadfully uncomfortable, but surely they are better than whatever we fear is just beyond the walls we have created for ourselves.
Sunday we will be looking at this through the lens of Mark’s story about Jesus and the desperate Syrophoenician woman who takes everyone out of their comfort zones. It is a boundary old and well established invoking fear and resentment of language, culture, ethnicity, and gender. These are the issues of vulnerability which caused Adam and Eve to become the tailors of anxiety as they try to overcome the vulnerability of their own nakedness. We are still trying to build those walls today.
Dr. Brene Brown writes in her new book “Rising Strong” that “vulnerability without boundaries is not vulnerability.” It brings to mind the defensive strategy used by Adam and Eve in claiming their own “nakedness” (which means, vulnerability.) God responds, “Who told you that you were naked?” It leads to a very now common exercise of making excuses for oneself at someone else’s expense.
“We need more people,” says Dr. Brown, “who are willing to demonstrate what it looks like to risk and endure failure, disappointment, and regret—people willing to feel their own hurt instead of working it out on other people, people willing to own their stories, live their values, and keep showing up.” It is possible that the unnamed Syrophoenician, leaping over all the social barriers between her and Jesus, is a good example of what we need more people to do.
Grace and Peace,