I posted on the discussion list for the first time tonight. While at first I felt shy, by the end I was confident and comfortable. I still think and wonder, though, about that quote and putting my ignorance out there for everyone to hit.
I got on a big “fear” kick, which had brought me then to this question: When (or) is fear healthy or necessary, or of any value? Is it ever? What about what said of the positive side of the Patriot Act? What it of value in response to September 11th? Has it made our plane travel safer in a positive and free way? Can freedom and fear co-exist?
I think it all depends on your definition of fear and likewise, your definition of weakness. I believe the two are inextricably mixed. I was reading a book called Beginning to Pray by Anthony Bloom. In it he provides a reminder of St. Paul’s words: “My power is manifest in my weakness.” and continues by making clear his own definition of weakness. I think, while the context Bloom uses is prayer and connection with God, the definition is relevant. He says it is not the weakness we show by sinning and forgetting God, or even as the OED’s definition of weak-minded: mentally deficient, or weakness: self-indulgent thinking. Rather, Bloom affirms Paul’s statement to refer to weakness which means completely supply, completely transparent, completely abandoned in the hands of God. This is not unlike how we should be when learning something new. If we bring out own biases, or will to be right, or ego into a new situation, we will undoubtedly run into frustration — if not externally in relation to others, at least within ourselves. And new situations, lack of knowledge, or experience, or control can be scary. This is a very small statement considering the effect September 11th had on people and I don’t mean to sum it up as merely a new situation, as it is so much more. But I guess what I think Anthony Bloom is defining is that freedom and fear do co-exist. But is freedom self-indulgence? Is fear weakness? These are hard thoughts to practice, especially when American’s freedom these days seems to be the definition of sin (forgetting God) whether the world believes it or not.