RUS­SELL MOORE

Newsweek - - Politics - moore is pres­i­dent of the Ethics & Re­li­gious Lib­erty Com­mis­sion, the pub­lic pol­icy arm of the South­ern Bap­tist Con­ven­tion.

The fear that seems to tox­ify our cul­tural ecosys­tem right now seems to be less about dan­ger from an ex­ter­nal threat and more about the ter­ror of be­ing “ex­iled” from one’s own “tribe.” That’s the rea­son peo­ple are re­treat­ing into their ide­o­log­i­cal si­los. No one wants to be ac­cused of talk­ing to “the en­emy,” whether that’s on so­cial me­dia or in the high­est lev­els of gov­ern­ment around the world.

Courage is grounded, in my view, in a sense of con­fi­dence and of per­sonal iden­tity that tran­scends what we see around us in this toxic time. That sense of iden­tity is what pro­pelled the Apos­tle Paul to over­come fear of ev­ery­thing from mob vi­o­lence to ex­e­cu­tion by the au­thor­i­ties as he car­ried the gospel around the known world of the time. “For am I now seek­ing the ap­proval of man, or of God?” he wrote. “If I were still try­ing to please man, I would not be a ser­vant of Christ” (Gala­tians 1:10).

We see the ex­am­ple con­stantly, whether in the Bi­ble or in world his­tory: The way to over­com­ing fear is for men and women of con­vic­tion to take a longer-term view than the present mo­ment. Roger Wil­liams [the Pu­ri­tan the­olo­gian who founded Rhode Is­land] must walk out into the wilder­ness alone, for the sake of fu­ture com­mu­ni­ties liv­ing in free­dom. A sense of lone­li­ness now is of­ten the key to flour­ish­ing com­mu­nity later.

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