Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite writing in the Washington Post looks at an underlying issue fueling the proliferation of guns and gun violence in the USA:
We are not going to be able to address a gun culture that makes the United States the most heavily armed nation in the world, unless we also counter a fear culture that is deeply emotionally rooted in our society.
What is powerful enough to counter fear? Biblically speaking, it is love that casts out fear. “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18)
Yet, we need to realize that the love that conquers fear is not a sentimental love ethic that leaves practical issues unaddressed.
Clearly strong legislation is needed now. The key to a “year without fear,” however, is also wrestling with the emotions that make many Americans afraid of other Americans.
The best way to address a fear culture is not with facts, but with an equally powerful emotion, and, from a biblical perspective, clearly that emotion is love.
Sounds great, except how do we get there? Love in the abstract is not the way. That can easily become feel-good rhetoric that accomplishes nothing.
Just as the fear culture focuses on specifics such as guns to drive away fear, a love culture must be very, very specific. Below [ed. note: see article] are some of our worst fear triggers, and concrete suggestions for the work we need to do to get from fear to love.
How will you work for love not fear? How can the church?