Episode 77

Belonging: Catherine McNeil on Fearing Bravely: Risking Love for Our Neighbors, Strangers, and Enemies

Catherine McNiel writes about the creative and redemptive work of God in our real, ordinary lives. Her upcoming book, Fearing Bravely: Risking Love for Our Neighbors, Strangers, and Enemies, just released from NavPress in February 2022. Catherine studies theology while caring for three kids, two jobs, and one enormous garden.

If Jesus commands Christians to love their neighbors, why are so many North American Christians taught to fear their neighbors? The US church is known as a people who are afraid, who have been nurtured through fear into hatred, and who have moved from hatred to violence—or at least to neglect. This fear, too often lived out boldly in the name of Jesus, is a false religion.

If God instructs Christians to welcome strangers, why are so many US Christians ignoring the scriptural commands that say not to withhold hospitality or help from anyone in need? So why do we fear strangers, especially those needing hospitality, afraid that their presence may threaten what we have?

If Jesus taught all of His followers to love their enemies, why aren't more North American Christians regularly praying and hearing sermons about how to pray for those who actively harm them? Instead, many church-goers in this polarized context, create enemies in their minds, seeing anyone who thinks, believes, looks, or lives differently from North American Christians as dangerous, a threat to their way of living.

The Christian community exists to declare and demonstrate God’s love and to follow Jesus in practicing love over fear, even in unsafe times and places. It’s time to call all people of faith to reclaim our brave fear of God and risk transformative love for the sake of our neighbors, the strangers among us, and our enemies.

Christians are to be people of God's Kingdom, which is a place of flourishing and belonging where all nations, races, tribes and languages are welcome. Fearing Bravely teaches us that we have nothing to fear. Instead, we can respond to our fear problem with a brave love that emerges from choosing to let our fear and awe of God overcome our fear of everything else.

Catherine McNiel writes with conviction, wisely guiding us to recognize our fear and, with God's help, not let it limit us to love courageously all who are among us.

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About the Podcast

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A podcast for those who are different and want to make a difference

About your host

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Lori Adams-Brown

Lori Adams-Brown works in business technology and leadership development in Silicon Valley. She is an international speaker and consultant with over 20 years of global management work experience from living and working on 3 continents. Lori has brought a forward-thinking perspective to hundreds of organizations in business, education, government and philanthropy to improve innovation capacity, develop strategies, and design new products and services. Lori’s current approach focuses on how diversity and inclusion is changing the face of major industries, a topic explored in detail in her podcast, A World of Difference. She also leads discussions and interviews global authors and thought leaders on the future of learning and the future of work. Lori helped start a grassroots community development nonprofit in Indonesia and served as Medical Director during the tsunami relief in Sumatra in 2004. Lori has served as Development Director to Echo Compassion, a Silicon Valley nonprofit community outreach organization, which she helped found. Lori has also written for the International Journal of Urban Transformation and spoken on Diversity and Inclusion at conferences in many cities around the globe. Raised in Valencia, Venezuela, Lori has lived in Singapore, Indonesia, Costa Rica and the San Francisco Bay Area. Lori is particularly well suited to see things from a global viewpoint. She has keynoted such international events as a worldwide webinar on Macroeconomics in Urban Strategy for the International Mission Board, and at conventions and churches in Singapore, Venezuela, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Brunei and all over the US. She holds a BA in both Sociology and Spanish and a Master’s of Arts in Intercultural Studies. Lori is on a mission to see people, families, communities, and nations thrive.