Faith Talk: Living without fear

Faith Talk: Living without fear

"Let's tell our young people that the best books are yet to be written; the best paintings have not yet been painted; the best governments are yet to be formed; the best is yet to be done by them."
 - John Erskine, Professor of English at Colombia University, concert pianist, author of 60 books, president of the Juilliard School of Music, and popular and witty lecturer (c/o The Word For Today). 

I think the great appeal of Harry Potter was, perhaps, the idea that you can do anything; to rise above your circumstances and pursue the path you were destined to live even though the odds might be stacked against you. And, you know, our young people live in very precarious times. 

The optimism of the 80s that Gen-Yers like myself took for granted has been dispelled by 9/11, global financial crisis and a hotbed of unrest in the Middle East. We had the Gulf War, but our 24/7 news environment now permeates every corner of life via the television, internet and smart phones. If not war, then we are also at war with our neighbours and supermarkets and our waist lines (if current affairs programs are anything to go by). 

And if there's unrest at home, because mum and dad (or just mum, or just dad) can't pay the bills, well, you'd forgive our young ones for thinking life is more challenging than it need be. Fear, loathing and weight loss... little wonder anxiety and worry and body image complexities are now a natural state of being.

The juxtaposition of those young, politically active people killed in the Norway massacre, including Hanna Kristin Fridtun, who looked like a spirited Hermione Granger at the debating lectern as depicted in The Weekend Australian, and the winners of the Sydney Morning Herald sponsored Plain English Speaking Award, including winner Fanulla Sapountzis, who used the metaphor of the Australian verandah to argue for the better treatment of asylum seekers (GWAS teen columnist Georgie Carroll was also an entrant), is a startling wake-up call. 

Just as Harry and Ron and Hermione battle against evil forces, so too do our youth. And it's our role to ensure the best possible passage for them into adulthood, through encouragement, guidance and strength. If we are at war ourselves, or in ourselves, or against the world itself, what help can we be?

Better to have a sure faith in something greater than one's own limited capabilities or a world prone to calamity; one that trusts, protects and points to what's best while the world outside is mired in unrest. There's good to be found in the world and its people, and a great purpose to be found in the quest to overcome evil in all its guises, on a grand Harry Potter scale or in a way that's quite small.

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." Jesus, John 14:27

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11)

Girl With a Satchel


Anonymous said...

This reminds me slightly of the teaching of Abraham-Hicks. Kind of spooky metaphysical stuff, but one of the basic tenets of the teachings is that you don't let other people's fears and negative perceptions of the world affect your own experience. Which is why I don't read/watch the news anymore. I rely on finding the information that I want via Twitter and my blog feeds, but I find that I'm less bogged down this way. I know this probably reeks of the 'ignorance is bliss' cliche, but I find I'm still reasonably informed, just no inundated with bad news constantly.