Who am I? I am a daughter and sister, but not always a great one. I love my family dearly, but I am pretty bad at remembering to call regularly and check in on how everyone is doing. I am a professional, usually. I work hard at being a good leader and example, but too often I allow myself to fall into idle gossip and complaining. I am an American, but not the best. I consider it a privilege to live in this country, though I frequently fail in my civic duties.

In a world where most people get their news from social media, anyone with a cell phone is an amateur cameraman, and individuals take to Facebook and Twitter to inform each other of current events, is it really a wonder that we have a hard time discerning what is true? Even our major news outlets read more like opinion than fact, intentionally leaning into overt biases and promoting their own agendas. In a recent interview on Hardcore History Addendum, former journalist Dan Carlin points out, “the democratization of the media has led to the democratization of truth.”

In a news conference last week addressing the looting and rioting in New York, the mayor came on and called on religious leaders to help calm the tensions and encourage people to stop the violence (an interesting request of a non-essential service, but I digress). The request poses an interesting question about the role that the church should or should not play in society, and what a fine line it is that we walk. Is it the church’s job to stop violent outbursts within the community? No, it is not. Is it appropriate for the church community to have open and honest conversations about the concerns being expressed within our society, and love and care for our neighbors? Absolutely.

I love a good triumphant moment in a story. I enjoy watching Aragorn struggle through battle after battle, culminating in his full acceptance of his destiny as he’s crowned king, or the instant where Arthur pulls the sword from the stone and I finally release the breath I was holding and start to grin. You could argue that Aragorn won his kingdom the moment Sauron fell, or perhaps that Arthur’s greatness was truly manifested in the way in which he ruled as king, rather than how he became king. But beyond making you want to stand up and cheer in the theater, these culminating moments offer crucial imagery and value to the overall story.

Fear is all around us, and perhaps more pronounced today than in the past. There has been a lot of discussion about the decisions, impositions, and implications resulting from the intense fear surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. Whichever side of these debates you fall on, there’s one important question that, as Christians, we perhaps aren’t asking ourselves enough…why are we afraid? I understand why those outside of the Church fear the suffering and death this plague brings, but why do we?