by William Willimon
Abingdon, Nashville, Tenn. 112 pages
You can read this book in an hour. Do it — the insights will last a lifetime. Will Willimon displays his customary wry humor with sharp biblical critique aimed to counter the current fear promoted by politicians, especially Christian politicians. What makes this brief book helpful is his ability to deliver truthful, though occasionally sarcastic, remarks from a solid theological grounding in Scripture. He argues the core of the biblical message is: “There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out all fear, because fear expects punishment. … We love because God first loved us. … Those who claim to love God ought to love their brother and sister also.” Willimon tells stories that keep the focus real, including his own experience of white, economic privilege growing up in the south in contrast with countless “others” treated harshly. The biblical and theological revelation of God’s gracious love in Jesus Christ for the other is what makes this book so valuable for Christians at precisely this moment when so many are being drawn to a message of fear and hatred of the other. I hope pastors, teachers and small group leaders will use this book. The discussion questions make it even more valuable.