Following Jesus in a Culture of Fear

series: Christian Practice of Everyday Life, The

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"What a marvelously lucid, engaging, and convincing book. Scott Bader-Saye singles out fear as the defining and largely self-imposed burden of our world. Here is a fresh voice to challenge and transform the anxieties of church and world."--Sam Wells, Duke University

The twentieth century has been referred to as the Age of Anxiety. Similarly, the first decade of the twenty-first century ushered in a "culture of fear"--especially in a post-9/11 world. Scott Bader-Saye helps us counteract this destructive force in Following Jesus in a Culture of Fear.

In this work, Bader-Saye draws insights about fear from medieval theologian Thomas Aquinas. Furthermore, he stresses the importance of sharing our fears in ecclesial communities, where we can develop courage. Most important, the author notes that a reclamation of God's sovereignty will help us reframe our lives; the doctrine of providence not only assures us that the fragments of our lives will cohere into a narrative unity but also demonstrates that God is our Provider.

A timely and applicable resource, Following Jesus in a Culture of Fear will resonate with academics, church leaders, and church members. Instead of allowing their own or others' fears motivate them, readers will be encouraged to forsake their 'ethic of safety' for an 'ethic of risk.' This new way of living manifests itself in hospitality, peacemaking, and generosity.

About the Series: The Christian Practice of Everyday Life series presents specifically Christian perspectives on some of the most prevalent contemporary practices of everyday life. The books in this series are motivated by the conviction that, in the contemporary context, Christians must actively demonstrate that their allegiance to the God of Jesus Christ always takes priority over secular structures that compete for our loyalty--including the state, the market, race, class, gender, and other functional idolatries.


"Bader-Saye has written a timely and provocative book concerning Christian resources of faith in a culture besot by fear. His diagnosis of a pervasive system of anxiety, rooted in Enlightenment reductionism, is on target; but more important is his assessment of the capacity of communitarian courage to act as a transformative alternative to fear. Bader-Saye draws upon compelling contemporary cases of such courageous action but shows, with equally compelling articulation, how such courage finally is deeply rooted in God's providence. His book is a bold theological exposition that has immediate and rich pastoral derivatives, all in the interest of an intentional church community acting congruently with its confession of faith."--Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary

"Scott Bader-Saye offers us Christian practical wisdom we desperately need. Through insightful examples as well as rich biblical and theological analysis, Bader-Saye beautifully seduces us to trust God and to risk hospitality, peacemaking, and generosity. This is a profoundly hopeful, and hope-filled, book."--L. Gregory Jones, Duke Divinity School

"What a marvelously lucid, engaging, and convincing book. Scott Bader-Saye singles out fear as the defining and largely self-imposed burden of our world. He diagnoses it with the aid of the great theologians and illustrates it from popular, personal, and political contexts. Not content with diagnosis, he offers a cure--cogent, compassionate, and Christian. This is an author who thinks with the practical wisdom of Aquinas and writes with an infectious zest. Here is a fresh voice to challenge and transform the anxieties of church and world."--Sam Wells, vicar, St. Martin-in-the-Fields Anglican Church; visiting professor of Christian ethics, King's College London

"Could it be that an account of providence is the key if we are to escape the fear that possesses Americans? Most would surely think an affirmative answer would be absurd. But that is exactly what Bader-Saye argues. He does so by providing an account of providence that does not promise safety but rather something far more important, that is, a way to go on with courage when we are not always able to 'make sense' of what has happened. His ability to help us 'see' our world through film and literature is itself a display of theological intelligence as rare as it is necessary."--Stanley Hauerwas, Duke Divinity School

The Author

  1. Scott Bader-Saye

    Scott Bader-Saye

    Scott Bader-Saye (PhD, Duke University) holds the Helen and Everett H. Jones Chair in Christian Ethics and Moral Theology at Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, Texas, where he also serves as academic dean. He is the author of Formed by Love and...

    Continue reading about Scott Bader-Saye


"Many, especially the mainline denominations, can learn much form this cogently argued and elegantly written volume."--Publishers Weekly

"This is an excellent choice for an adult class or mission committee seeking to explore new ways to follow the Gospels."--Carrie Berry, Presbyterians Today

"A relevant and practical resource for the academic world as well as leaders in the church. . . . This is not your average pre-dinner appetizer topic. It is a meaty portion of biblical insight and truth every Christ-follower needs to read. . . . Although it is not an easy or quick read, I believe Following Jesus in a Culture of Fear is an important read for the life of the Church today."--Dale Lewis, Sweet Lou Productions

"A timely and well-written book."--Anthony B. Robinson, The Christian Century

"If you struggle with fear preventing you from truly following Jesus the way He has called us to, this might be the perfect book for you."--Adam Griffin, YouthWorker Journal

"Truly great. . . . Through helpful use of movie scenes and popular novels, and serious Bible study, Scott helps us all move towards a life of love, learning to embody the hospitality of Christ, and engage in peacemaking ministries. Good discussion questions, too, making this an ideal tool for study groups."--Byron Borger, Hearts and Minds Books

"Bader-Saye invites us to allow God's grace to put fear in its place and offers an illuminating discussion of 'providence.'. . . I recommend this profound book to those interested in this topic. It provides a thoughtful reaction to our culture of fear."--Michael Snarr, Quaker Life

"Bader-Saye shares a great perspective on fear, one of the most abused commodities in our culture. His encouragement to follow Jesus is exactly the antidote we need."--John Dunham, YouthWorker Journal

"While Bader-Saye's book extracts illustrations from many aspects of life, his most perceptive examples often come from his reflections on parenting. Young parents, especially, are prone to being persuaded by people benefiting from keeping them in a state of fear about their children. . . . Parents will be challenged by this book! Bader-Saye does an excellent job of pointing out how our culture perpetuates a constant state of fear, offers insights into how to navigate fidelity to Christ in such a culture, and suggests practices for Christians to follow (hospitality, peacemaking, generosity) in order to live counter culturally. The book is challenging and encouraging, and the discussion questions at the end of each chapter make it an ideal small-group resource."--Derek Melleby, Engage

"Following Jesus in a Culture of Fear is a call to discipleship in its truest form--without obsession and preoccupation with the costs or dangers of daily life. . . . Bader-Saye's description of providence gives us a reasonable context in which to live. . . . Once we begin to understand that God is present with us in whatever circumstances surround our lives, ultimately redeeming every event of human existence, fear can be put in its place."--Kathy Brawley, Covenant Companion