fear of death and of life

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The essential impediment to the charismatic experience of our potentialities for living is to be found in our passive sins, not our active ones; for the hindrance is not our despairing attempt to be ourselves, but our despairing attempt not to be ourselves, so that out of fear of life and fear of death we fall short of what our own lives could be. The charismata of the Spirit are present whenever faith in God drives out these fears of life, and whenever the hope of resurrection overcomes the fear of death.

–Jürgen Moltmann

These fears are at the root, I believe, of a great deal of our church problems. When those who believe in Christ, but do not really believe in the power of the Spirit, gather together they form defensive liturgies and systems designed, seemingly, for worship but in actuality serve to ward off the ever present fears of life and death that afflict all of humanity. Most of the set rules within our liturgies have arisen due to conflict and have sought to quell the disorder by laws and customs, which over time settle into some conception of a divine tradition.

Those who are most virulent in their defense of specific denominational customs or liturgies are caught up in fear not in hope. They seek their rules as substitutes for the living Spirit and use their liturgies to hide themselves. In doing this, whatever the context, they seek to serve Christ by quenching the work of the Holy Spirit who is our only access to Christ in this present world.

This creates a bit of a mess really.

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