Practicing love over fear

Last week, at the Rethinking Church conference at Luther Seminary, we heard a speaker offer this nugget of wisdom attributed to a fighter pilot:

“In the moment of crisis, we don’t rise to the occasion. We revert to our training. That’s why we train so much.”

In the midst of rapid-fire news, the constant barrage of social media outrage and invitations to activism, what is the steady routine, the quotidian practice, that gives us resilient faith and discernment about when, where, and how to act?
I feel this pressure every time I open the news or Facebook, and I know I’m not alone. Amidst news of impending doom and calls to rally, I feel an underlying invitation to let fear drive the bus — the fear of being a fraud, the fear of letting God and neighbor down. Ultimately, this path of shame leads to the denial of the goodness of God’s creation, denial of grace, denial of resurrection. Yet the hope we share, the Christian story, is the defiant trust of God’s goodness, and the willingness to act joyfully out of that trust, despite all the evidence to the contrary.
If this bewildering swirl of fear is at your door as well, I invite you to consider the practices that ground you in hope, joy, and love. Here are five ways to explore the daily ‘training’ that can keep you pointed toward the God of Love when the moment of crisis arrives.
Missional Leadership Lab: This cohort-style experience is specially for small groups of leaders from ECMN faith communities: a laboratory in the practices of missional leadership. Try on new practices in your home context and join the group to reflect on what you discovered, with monthly online readings to spur your faith and challenge your imagination about what the Holy Spirit is up to around us, and how the church can join in!
Jesus: The Person and the Way: This new course, offered through CDSP’s Center for Anglican Learning and Leadership, asks what we mean, exactly, when we talk about ‘the way of Jesus.’ What was the way Jesus practiced, and how have Christians lived out that way in their own contexts over time? Join Reed Carlson to lean into those questions.
Christian Spirituality: One of the most popular courses in the School for Formation. Join spiritual director Mike Sirany for an experiential tour through ancient and modern practices of prayer. You can take this course, and others, for free if it’s your first time in the School for Formation!
Faithful Families by Traci Smith. A perfect handbook on simple, life-giving ways to bring faith into daily life, especially for households with children. Daily and seasonal practices, along with simple rites for transitions like the first day of school, blessing a new driver, after the death of a pet, marking a divorce, and praying together after a traumatic event. This book is great for busy families who are looking for God’s love.
Finding our Way Again by Brian McLaren. Another great book! This is for those wondering what practices make us Christian, how those practices shape our faith, and what practices we might be called to recover from the past in order to live faithfully today.