Fear is both a theological theme and an existential reality. “The fear of God” is at the heart of biblical wisdom (e.g., Prov. 1:1-7), including a sense of wonder, reverence, and respect that humankind may offer to God in response to divine sovereignty and glory. At the same time, many different kinds of fear run rampant in our world, including fears related to the rise of nationalism and political corruption, violence and the threat of violence, changes in our religious landscapes, religious extremism, refugees, persons of different ethnic identities, socio-economic difficulties, climate crises, and natural disasters. How do we recognize, identify, and address fear as teachers and preachers of homiletics who experience and encounter fear of different kinds? What are the conversations we need to develop and the topics we need to debate? How do we facilitate theological and practical engagement with the fears that we experience not only as individuals but from our students and in our churches, neighborhoods, nations, and world? When is it wise to recall the biblical promise, “Do not fear…” in our preaching? How do we describe and develop homiletical spaces in which fear needs to be expressed? Please join our deliberations and conversations about fearing God in a fear-filled world as we meet at the Duke University Divinity School on 3-8 August, 2018.
President of Societas Homiletica