S5:E36 The Only Thing We Have To Fear

S5:E36 The Only Thing We Have To Fear

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What did FDR mean by “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself?”

On March 4, 1933, FDR delivered his inaugural address. In it, he used the phrase “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself”. I did a little searching and this phrase is used a LOT in Christian books. So often. But it almost always refers to the fear one person has in their heart. In reality, it is a comment on collective fear. The Great Depression started in 1929 and was exacerbated by a bank run in which Americans lost faith in the value of our currency and the banking systems.

Do we believe in God’s economy?

That is an important distinction. FDR’s speech is about collective fear. As I’ve contemplated the modernist/fundamentalist debate this season, I keep returning to the idea of fear, not in the US economy but in God’s economy. He commands us to love the Lord, keep His commands, love our neighbors, turn the other cheek, and give to those who ask of us. Why do we forget to do this important work? Could it be because we’ve lost faith in God’s economy?

This episode features a clip from my discussion with Jacob Goldstein, former host of NPR’s Planet Money podcast and the current host of Pushkin’s What’s Your Problem? podcast. His book is Money: The True Story of a Made-up Thing.

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Discussion Questions:

  • Why does it matter that FDR’s quote “…the only thing we have to fear is fear itself” is a collective statement and not one about individual fear?
  • What are some identifying features of God’s economy?
  • Do you trust in the way that God tells us to do things?
  • When was the last time you prayed for someone who you don’t like?
  • Do you believe in turning the other cheek?
S3:E21 Empire: the Game!

S3:E21 Empire: the Game!

We’ve spent the last several weeks asking the question: “Is the United States an empire?” Now we want to go even deeper: “Is empire always a bad thing?”

So we invented a game that will explore that question. It’s Capture the Flag… with resources.

Topics discussed:

  • Is empire always a bad thing?
  • How can the US use resources to build alliances?
  • Is the US a Christian nation?
  • How should Christians treat resources?
  • The US has over 800 military bases. Would we want a foreign military base in or near our land?
  • Should Christian resist burglars?
  • Would we want a Chinese military base in the US?
  • How do we treat countries with less important resources?
  • The difficulty of being both a Christian and an American

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