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Forgoing the fear to embrace faith

by Kristin Campbell

The book's been sitting on my desk for a while now, along with piles of others.

But while its patience and proximity may have played a part, neither are what finally made me sit down with it a few days ago.

Instead, I turned through Karen Spears Zacharias' "Where's Your Jesus Now?" for its subtitle: "Examining How Fear Erodes Our Faith" (Zondervan, $18.99).

The moment when we're hearing about how our worrying may be at best affecting and at worst undermining our economy seemed as good as any to page through it.

In her slight tome, Zacharias takes leaders and institutions to task, calling them out for preying on our fears. She doesn't let the rest of us off the hook either, needling us for the ways in which we feed the beast, whether by going to see horror movies or by cataloging catastrophes.

"The evidence of things not yet seen no longer defines faith, but has become another sign that evildoers worldwide are busily plotting our demise," Zacharias writes.

"Where's our confidence? Our hope? Where is the peace in the midst of the storm? What is our message to a world rotating on fear? Is it possible that in our hypervigilance against our enemies, real or perceived, we've taken our eyes off of Jesus, our protector and Redeemer?"

By no means does Zacharias preach the kind of "Do-this-and-God-will-do-that" message. Unlike some prominent religious leaders, she does not blame men, women and children for the horrors that befall them, nor does she hold God accountable for the world's tragedies.

Rather than preaching a gospel of Us vs. Them, she presents the perils of "Certainosity."

Preferring to be "right than redeemed," adherents to Certainosity can be Baptist and Muslim, liberal and conservative, Zacharias writes.

"They consider themselves the 'faithful,' but it's a misnomer," she writes. "Faith is the practice of hoping. People of faith struggle with doubt. They readily admit that they don't have all the answers, whereas adherents to Certainosity never question anything."

As for Zacharias, she writes that she began to redefine her faith and to consider "what it meant to lead a life of faith in the shadow of doubt."...