Friday, May 26, 2017
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Fear or love?

By Mark Azzara

Dear Friend,

Flannery Dean’s recent article about political satire and its effects on American political involvement is really good because it got me to think.

Those who enjoy satire are addicted to the likes of Stephen Colbert and Saturday Night Live. Others, however, are offended by that satire  because they see it as ridicule, and they respond by becoming even more rigid. That, too, is an addiction.

Satire and rigidity are both attempts to allay really deep fear – fear of the other guy. A few will assert that they’re not afraid, either because they idiotically believe they are invincible or because they are preposterously confident they can correct any wrong or turn any evil into good with the stroke of a pen or the casting of a ballot. But I suspect that their bravado is just another way of denying fear.

Having just survived a campaign rooted in fear it’s fair to ask: What frightens you? I fear that my adult children will blame me for handing them a world in which murdering fanatics obscure our equally murderous and vastly more dangerous indifference to those who are legitimately fearful and/or in need.

I fear that the Christian church will turn its eyes away from Jesus by identifying other Christians as the root cause of our nation’s problems.

I fear that morally bankrupt individuals will, with a few quick keystrokes at some unknown time, leave me financially bankrupt. Or that politicians who pretend to “know” without knowing how to think will do the same via a few misspoken words or a few misguided decisions.

I fear that I will outlive all my truly valued, trusted friends who are a source of calm amid the storm.

But then I remember there is one friend who will always be there – the one whose perfect love “drives out all fear.” And when I remember him I recommit to  finding Jesus and resting in his loving embrace, his hope, his joy, all of which erase my fear and allow me to leave behind my self-justified defenses.

Every day presents us with the same challenge – to fight fear on our own until it consumes us, or to seek love, revel in it and share it with others so that they, too, will feel, if not completely free of fear, at least somewhat safer and more at peace.

All God’s blessings – Mark

Mark Azzara

About Mark Azzara

Mark Azzara spent 45 years in print journalism, most of them with the Waterbury Republican in Connecticut, where he was a features writer with a special focus on religion at the time of his retirement. He also worked for newspapers in New Haven and Danbury, Conn. At the latter paper, while sports editor, he won a national first-place writing award on college baseball. Azzara also has served as the only admissions recruiter for a small Catholic college in Connecticut and wrote a self-published book on spirituality, "And So Are You." He is active in his church and a non-denominational prayer community and facilitates two Christian study groups for men. Azzara grew up in southern California, graduating from Cal Sate Los Angeles. He holds a master's degree from the University of Connecticut.

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