REVIEW Love Over Fear: Facing Monsters, Befriending Enemies, and Healing Our Polarized World, by Dan White, Jr.

This page is a compilation of the following futuristguy blog posts:

*Love Over Fear* #1 – Participating on Dan White, Jr.’s, Launch Team

*Love Over Fear* #2 – Constraining by Fear versus Constraints of Love

*Love Over Fear* #3 – Reflections on the Introduction, Plus Chapters 1-2

*Love Over Fear* #4 – Chapter 3: How Fear Polarizes Us

*Love Over Fear* #5 – Chapter 4: Affection for Monsters

*Love Over Fear* Book Review

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*Love Over Fear* #1

Participating on Dan White, Jr.’s, Launch Team

Love Over Fear: Facing Monsters, Befriending Enemies, and Healing Our Polarized World is the third book written by Dan White, Jr. It will be released May 7th, from Moody Press. After seeing Dan’s social media posts about his launch team being formed, and reflecting on the insightful stuff I’ve seen from Dan over the years, I decided to apply.

Glad to report my application was accepted. I’m drawn by Dan’s core message. After hearing about how he’s extracted and practiced the principles of overcoming fear with love in his own church and community, I know I’ll learn more about how to be constructive in the face of the disturbing either/or thinking that’s become so prevalent.

Over the years, I’ve intentionally made and maintained (as best I can) friendships with people across the broad spectrum of perspectives on politics, religions/philosophies, and theological streams within my own faith as a Christian. I also get input from a range of news sources–right, center, and left.

But why?

People who are different from me in some way help me fill in gaps, file off excesses. They pose questions I never had, share experiences I may never have. This is not mere self-serving “iron sharpens iron.” I value how such connections support my desire to build understanding and empathy, affirm dignity, extend hospitality. Bridging our differences is a “relational MRI” process for developing community, finding common ground for the common good.

It seems to me that’s the essence of what it means to be a “person of peace” like Jesus talked about. For instance, how can we stand for justice if we can’t stand or stand with those who’ve suffered injustices? How can we earn the opportunity to share our point of view if we refuse to listen to the views of others?

Really looking forward to reading, riffing on, and reviewing Love Over Fear, and will be posting about it occasionally as I dive into Dan’s book. I fully expect I’ll find it uncomfortable, but ultimately encouraging …

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*Love Over Fear* #2

Constraining by Fear versus Constraints of Love

I’m just beginning to get into the first section of chapters in #LoveOverFear by Dan White Jr.. A challenging topic, but so relevant for our times! I’ve been reflecting on quotes from him on what fear does to us and others, in shutting everything down [first image] … versus how real love opens things up in surprising ways [second].

These made me think about examples, and what came to mind was this Voice Italy audition by Sister Cristina.

I’ve watched this many times since it first aired in 2014, yet it always makes me smile with delighted surprise at the paradox there–this unexpected juxtaposition of opposites, where those who might normally find enmity instead go on to forge friendship. Give it a go, and see if it makes you smile as well! (This link has captions in English: If you aren’t familiar with that option, look for the [[CC]] box on the bottom right-hand side of the video.)

It would be so easy to just stay in a silo, relate only with people like myself, let comfortability and/or fear dominate. But I know how much my life and outlook have been enriched by others who aren’t like me, and hope my differences draw out something better in others as well …

Okay, back to reading!

Well, first, a P.S. Dan’s been putting together this transmedia and resource website for his Love Over Fear Project. He’s already posted clips from some songs written specifically for the project, quote memes, overview, and backstory.

And links to a range of bookstores to (pre)order Love Over Fear: Facing Monsters, Befriending Enemies, and Healing Our Polarized World by Dan White, Jr. Release date is May 7th, from Moody Press

Check it out!

And a P.P.S. Here’s the Moody Press’ YouTube posting of the book trailer for *Love Over Fear*. Really liked it and will have more to say about this thought-provoking video later!

Okay — NOW I’m going back to reading …

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*Love Over Fear* #3

Reflections on the Introduction, Plus Chapters 1-2

 

As I continue working through Dan White’s book, #LoveOverFear, I run across quotes that I find particularly intriguing, or that cause me to stop and reflect more deeply about a current situation. I’ve been choosing one quote per chapter to share here, along with brief thoughts they sparked.

If all goes well, I’ll have my review posted this week … Meanwhile, check out the Love Over Fear Project website for backstory, book details, and links to (pre)order from some favorite sources. Official release date is Tuesday, May 7th.

Reflections on the Introduction

Polarization uses fear as a shovel to dig holes in what should be common ground, and to put up fences between us and them. Love removes the poles, fills in the holes, restores common ground, and hosts a picnic unbound.

Chapter 1: The Way Fear Works

I find that a “video” of how people are over time is far better than a single snapshot from just one situation. Love waits and watches for the video version of others, instead of making snap judgments based on a snapshot.

Chapter 2: Love and Fear at War

Not all Christians hold this assumption, that the image of God in us may be marred by sin, but not removed. The image of God gives us a basis for “un-othering.” It’s difficult to treat any person with due dignity if we believe their essence in God’s image, and their worth in the eyes of God, are fully drained from our brokenness.

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*Love Over Fear* #4

Chapter 3: How Fear Polarizes Us

I’ve continued my reading through Dan White Jr.‘s wonderful book, #LoveOverFear. In Chapter 3, he deals with “How Fear Polarizes Us,” and describes that in ways that made it easy for me to get the drift of how he sees that destructive process working.

Dan also does a great job in describing the paradigms and political views at the time of Christ, and how Jesus called a representative ragtag group together, drawing from pretty much all the viewpoints. This quote caught my attention: “Jesus did not play by the rules of any political parties of His day. Jesus was frequently pressured by people to fit into a category. Everyone had political or religious agendas they placed on Jesus, and He frustrated them with divine delight.”

Holy humor? Borderline-perverse providence? Or was something else going on …

See the rest of the quote for details of how Christ’s chosen band of disciples and what points of view they didn’t sway Him to.

Basically, Jesus didn’t embrace or endorse their legalism, anti-supernaturalism, purity culture, power-mongering, or violence. Instead, He used their presence all together at one table to draw out differences so He could fill in their gaps, file off their excesses, change their centerpoint. In essence, His presence offered a situation with an optimal opportunity for personal growth and forging a dynamic team.

Common ground for the common good: That’s one way that perfect/complete love works to cast out fear and bring us together, when fear inherently ends up emphasizing opposites and driving us apart.

Meanwhile, the book has launched. You can read the first few reviews on its Amazon page. Six chapters more to read, and then my review will join them!

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*Love Over Fear* #5

Chapter 4: Affection for Monsters

This morning, I wrote a first draft of my overall book review for Love Over Fear, by Dan White, Jr. Part of that review lists key reasons why this book is a valuable, practical resource for us to be better both/and bridge-builders in an either/or era of polarization.

One thing I’m finding I especially appreciate is that Dan doesn’t send us into a realm without nuances, where all differences are now acceptable and anything goes. There are still issues of right and wrong, good and evil. This seems particularly important to keep in mind while reading Chapter 4, “Affection for Monsters,” which makes the case that Jesus Christ’s command to love our enemies does not contain any loopholes.

Underneath any and all differences we have as people, we share in common the reality of being made in the image of God. There is something worthy of acknowledgment and respect in that, even if there are behaviors that show that image has been broken.

Here are some quotes from Chapter 4 that I found most thought provoking. Some relate to that seemingly impossible command to love our enemies (thank the Lord for the Holy Spirit’s empowerment to make that possible!). Others give us some indicators for how we can know whether we’re making progress. The chapter itself offers some in-depth examples from Dan and others showing how to love enemies through listening, through presence, through dialogue.

[“Siloing” is] the tendency to interact mostly with like-minded people … We know we are siloing when we are unable to relax and relate with people who don’t share our convictions. (page 111)

These silos we live in create a void, and the void is violent on the growth of love in a Jesus follower. Attack ads, adhominem arguments, and excessive claims about each other’s impact on America’s future have become staple elements of beating back our enemies. The void is fortified by this type of hostile rhetoric about “them,” “they,” “it.” And yet, our fundamental identity is those created and beloved by God—this is the more accurate label Jesus places on us. The mystery seems to be that my enemy shares the same glory that I share in—we are both made in the glorious image of God. (page 112; emphasis added)

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*Love Over Fear* Book Review

Love Over Fear: Facing Monsters, Befriending Enemies, and Healing Our Polarized World, by Dan White, Jr., (Moody Press, 2019). ISBN 9780802418880.

Dan White Jr. shows us how to be a both/and bridge builder in an either/or era.

The last few years have felt as scary and angst-inducing as I remember the late 1960s and early 1970s being, when I was in high school. Our entire society was snared in more upheavals than the movie San Andreas. Geo-political crisis abroad, war on poverty at home. Civil rights and seeking to end racism, promoting equality for women. The first Earth Day with its hints that today’s technological progress could cost us tomorrow’s environment. Culture clashes on these and other issues showed up every single day, on the streets and in the news.

Opposing bumper sticker slogans seen everywhere back then got at the essence of the differences: “America—love it or leave it” versus “America—change it or lose it.”

Signs of the times, then—and now. All polar opposites and no room for anything or anyone in between. Every issue so heart-felt that expressing one’s opinion seems obligatory. But what do we do if our intended audience doesn’t hear us in these heated exchanges? The next-level option seems just to say it louder. But that keeps getting us nowhere but pounding down our position until we’re more deeply entrenched.

We’ve become plagued by this level of intense polarization again. I constantly see evidences of either/or thinking in discussions that turn into debates, social media outrage that gets snarly, and free speech that starts out peaceful but turns into us-versus-them verbal grenade violence. If we’re going to change this, we’ve got to figure out middle ground, encourage in-between zones. I wanted to get Dan’s perspective in Love Over Fear, because it was promoted as just such a way to bridge such voids.

And I believe he succeeds. This is not a bunch of mere theoretical principles or formulaic points—though Dan lays out a clear and accessible approach to change, for us as everyday disciples. He practices what that preaches and shows us how navigating differences with his real-world neighbors works out, by transforming typical fear-based responses of attack or avoid through the genuine power of affection.

Our current crisis of polarization affects all people, all demographics, all political and theological views. A constructive future depends on us listening and learning across all such differences, and finding our way together through these troubled times. In Love Over Fear, Dan White, Jr., gives us an avenue of practical ways to move forward in that crucial bridge-building venture.

NOTES:

Disclosure: I received a copy of the book from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing it. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.

Book Website: Check out Dan White Jr.‘s Love Over Fear Project website for backstory, book details, additional #LoveOverFear resources, and links to order from some favorite sources.

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