Or as I wanted to call this post: In which we try to drink from a fire hose.
People, if you have been around here for a while you know what I am about to say is true. I have never said, “If you can only buy one book, use your money for this book.” As a book lover, I wish / hope that you will join us and buy every book. I hope you will, but if not, I will still be here. Reading and writing, because that is what book addicts do.
However, this fall? I had better not be reading alone. Why? Because Facing Danger: A Guide Through Risk by Dr Anna E Hampton is one you need to read. I do not say that lightly and I am only two chapters in, so I could be wrong. But even if I am, the first two chapters are worth your time and financial investment.
I can tell that this book is meaty. Instead of me trying to summarize the chapters, I am going to approach book club a little differently this fall. Why? Because I do not want you to confuse my paltry crumbs with the real meal (reading the book). I have been in contact with the author, Dr. Anna Hampton and she is open to us asking her questions. So some weeks I will share questions I had and her responses. Other weeks, who knows. But more than in other books, I want to push us to have conversations in the comments.
A few hours before I wrote this post, one of the women who helps with this blog asked me if I could do her work for the day. She had been attacked while coming home, and although physically okay and nothing was stolen, she was shaken up. Her emotional and spiritual well-being come before the work she does for Velvet Ashes! We skyped and did a bit of initial debriefing from the event.
Many reading this will live in places that seem “safe” on the surface. Please do not miss reading this book because you do not think it applies to you. Dr. Hampton incorporates theology that applies to all of us.
From the introduction, I marked “Mature courage helps us know whether to stand firm, move forward, or retreat to fight another day. There is a difference between courageous retreat and cowardly retreat, between courageously remaining and cowardly remaining. When we act courageously our souls are enlarged and the fruit of the Spirit becomes increasingly visible in our lives.”
She starts chapter one off with a bang. “Security is not a feeling.” Let that soak in. If you feel safe, you may be, you may not be. If you feel unsafe, you may be, you may not be.
Terminology is used that I need to keep chewing on:
- A theology of suffering
- A theology of risk
- How is risk different than danger?
- How do risk, suffering, and danger differ?
Dr. Hampton also challenges our communities to ask the right questions and gives four questions at the end of the chapter.
Between chapters one and two she asks, “What happens when a person responds with a theology-of-suffering answer to someone asking a theology-of-risk question.” This challenges me to slow down and check if I am asking a suffering or risk question. Am I giving a suffering or risk answer? Like mis-matched socks, they might function together, but do they go together?
We have talked before about the pedestal many put cross-cultural workers on. We have also talked about the ways we can rank cross-cultural workers. “Some cross-cultural workers have a misperception that pursuing risk is the highest calling, a demonstration of faith, and so they are motivated to pursue it. Very often, however, the motivations behind a person’s behavior have a significant impact on how the behavior will affect that person or someone else.” The following discussion on calling and what it means to be chosen for an assignment makes sense. But if I’m honest, I still like some calls more than others because of how they are perceived.
What new insights did you gain from these chapters? If someone were to ask you how “risk” is used in the New Testament, how would you answer them? What’s the difference between risk and danger? How much risk and danger do you experience in your context?
See you in the comments!
P.S. We will read two chapters each week, so next week we will discuss Chapters 3 and 4.