The God With Us Podcast

Love Over Fear (with Dan White Jr.)(S1:E5)

December 30, 2019 Geoff Holsclaw
The God With Us Podcast
Love Over Fear (with Dan White Jr.)(S1:E5)
Chapters
The God With Us Podcast
Love Over Fear (with Dan White Jr.)(S1:E5)
Dec 30, 2019
Geoff Holsclaw

Why did Jesus gather disciples who probably hated each other? What did this have to do with God's mission? And what can we learn from the Prince of Peace?

Cyd and Geoff talk with Dan White Jr, author of Love over Fear: Facing Monsters, Befriending Enemies, and Healing Our Polarized World. 

They talk about why we don't need better “conflict resolution” skills. Rather, we need better “dealing with our fear” skills—because while love cast fear (1 John 4:18), it is also true that fear casts out love. 

Concluding Challenge: If you are feeling spiritually dry.  Just take a step toward someone you consider an enemy, or who thinks you are their enemy. 


Please join the God With Us Podcast Community(on Slack), where you'll get updates, resources, and be able to continue the conversation, and even help us plan future episodes.

And you can find Dan White Jr. on Facebook and Twitter, and please check out his book, Love Over Fear. 

Show Notes Transcript

Why did Jesus gather disciples who probably hated each other? What did this have to do with God's mission? And what can we learn from the Prince of Peace?

Cyd and Geoff talk with Dan White Jr, author of Love over Fear: Facing Monsters, Befriending Enemies, and Healing Our Polarized World. 

They talk about why we don't need better “conflict resolution” skills. Rather, we need better “dealing with our fear” skills—because while love cast fear (1 John 4:18), it is also true that fear casts out love. 

Concluding Challenge: If you are feeling spiritually dry.  Just take a step toward someone you consider an enemy, or who thinks you are their enemy. 


Please join the God With Us Podcast Community(on Slack), where you'll get updates, resources, and be able to continue the conversation, and even help us plan future episodes.

And you can find Dan White Jr. on Facebook and Twitter, and please check out his book, Love Over Fear. 

Speaker 1:

This is Jeff and Sid Holsclaw and welcome to the God with us podcast where we are exploring God's presence and purpose in everyday life. Do you have trouble imagining how you can connect with God in your ordinary moments? Please join the conversation. We're glad to have you. It's today we're starting, I think we are going to start a new mini series on like God with us in the midst of conflict and we're having a Dan jr on who's a friend of mine. [inaudible] has just met a man online for the first time here, but I've know Dan kind of online and offline for several years I think. Um, and and he wrote a book called love over fear and so we're going to talk just a little bit about how God is at work in the midst of conflict , um, and then how we can participate in that. And then maybe what God's calling us to over you said no , I don't you want to let Dan introduce , I'm sorry. And by the way, Dan has the last name too. It's Dan jr. that's all right. I said, Dan jr it's still weird because like I think I met you first online and all your online like handles, like on Twitter it's always like Dan white jr. So then I'm like, do I call him Dan white jr when I meet him in person ? I remember one day you're like, no, people just call me Dan. It's like , that doesn't make sense. But I met you online first before we met in person. So now it's like, it's stuck in my brain. This is Dan white. You don't like to be called junior . Um , you know, it's a bird . My dad was Dan White's seniors, so I, you know , that's stuck with us. So yes. All right . Anyways, being a junior, tell us about the doubts about yourself. Um, you know , what's, what's to tell I , um ,

Speaker 2:

I've got a few books out. I'm level with fears . The recent one, I spend most of my time working for the V3 movement , uh, which is a church planning , um , organization that helps plant , um, neighborhood rooted discipleship centered , uh , church plants , uh, both women and men. Um, so I'm primarily coaching and consulting , uh , through them. And I moved to Syracuse 10 years ago to plant a church , uh , right here in downtown Syracuse. And um, I had been married 20 years, have a little three year old and a 15 year old and a I am a

Speaker 1:

five on the Enneagram. Oh, I'm a brutal introvert and uh, try to find as much time away from people as I possibly can. So thanks for taking the time on our podcast . Yes. Instead of just reading more books about podcasts or anything else. Yeah, yeah. Well maybe you should expand your podcast research and listen to more . I think I'm going to know anyway. Um , Dan, I'm so glad that you're with us and

Speaker 3:

I just want to say to anyone who hasn't read love over fear , um, this'll just be a shameless plug for a minute. It's a really fantastic book and it's not written just for people in the church, like ministry people, it's for ordinary humans because we all have conflicts and disagreements and we all run up against being in a room with people we'd rather not be in a room with. And I love the way that your book speaks into that. And so , um, I wanted to start us off actually with, I'm going to read a paragraph because who haven't , who haven't read your book? I wanted to just read this because I think it's a good springboard to get where we want to go today. So , uh , in a chapter about how fear polarizes us and we can all acknowledge that we live in a pretty polarized society right now where disagreements are not very mild anymore. It's sort of like, if you don't agree with me, then you are against me. Um, and so here is a paragraph for those of you that you know , want to look it up. It's on page 88 of Dan's book, but in the selection of his disciples, Jesus gathered three zealots who were militant nationalists, a tax collector who favored the Sadducee party, six fishermen who lived hand to mouth and were exploited by Roman taxation, one member of the Sakari party and a wealthy nobleman who was linked to the Pharisees. This is scandalous. It's like organizing a home church with a few black lives matter protesters, blue collar workers who believe Donald Trump will fix the country. A couple on public assistance while working for minimum wage at McDonald's, a wealthy Republican gentleman who owns an oil refinery down South and a member of Antifa. It's an understatement to say that these men would have loathed to being in the same room with each other. And I just think that's such a great tangible idea. Maybe. Probably most of us don't think about just how at odds the disciples would have been with each other. Yeah . And I would just love for you to talk about like how, like what would she says ? What do you , I mean, I know we don't know for sure, but like why do you think Jesus called such crazy disagreeing people to come together?

Speaker 2:

Well , um,

Speaker 3:

[inaudible]

Speaker 2:

I think that Jesus was just inhabiting the current time he was in deeply and uh, that was the makeup of a culture at that moment. And rather than Jesus , um, being conditioned or fashioned by polarization, he was , um, completely and fully loved by the father, which allowed him to love everyone , um, with freedom. And so in the selection of disciples, I don't think that , uh, it was , um, disrupted him or , um , R or, or D D stabilized him to actually pull people in from far reaches of that culture into the same space. So a lot of it has to do with who Jesus, how Jesus saw himself as one beloved as one belonging already. Um , most of the time that we find ourselves unable to dwell with someone that we're polarized against, it's because we're , uh , we D we are not in a space of safety or belonging or , uh , rooted in our identity. And so therefore to be with someone else that's unlike us or we're disgusted with or we have anger towards or w you know, we're repelled by to be with them actually feels like an assault on our identity. Um, and so most of Jesus' strength or stability to create this crazy discipleship core was because he was rooted himself and this provided him space. Uh, the ability to hold this space for such a diverse and possibly , uh, you know, disruptive group of people. Um, so I think that's the beginning point , um , is that didn't actually make it in the book, but um, is just really understanding what created this stability for Jesus to dwell with people on such far left and right places.

Speaker 3:

Right. Yeah. I love the way that you're saying it's out of his own place of belonging, knowing that his, his position as a beloved son is never in question. It's never at stake. And out of that place he's able to offer that kind of belonging and welcome to those who are completely opposite of you.

Speaker 2:

Yes. And in a just finished actually a little tour on the book and um, did a lot of polling and surveys just to kind of collect some data along the way. And one of the things that was so interesting , um, when it comes to dwelling with some, if you're conservative dwelling with a progressive or if you're a progressive dwelling with a conservative, is that for conservatives to have table fellowship and deep friendship with someone that is so far left from the third perspective feels like compromise for them. And th that word is , uh, is associated with their identity. They don't want to be viewed as compromising and for Progressive's or those who feel like injustice is the, is the most important thing to press on in the world to dwell with a conservative feels like complicity. Um, and so both of them feel an assault on their identity. Um, and a lot of it is very tribal. It's not wanting to be associated with someone who is , um , complicit or compromising. And so that modern kind of sentiment that I think people feel , um, I think Jesus was able to obliterate that because he did care about being seen as one who is compromising or being complicit that wasn't his, that those identity markers. And we see this a lot where people call them a Clutton in a drunkard. And , um, and there's all kinds of identity markers thrown at Jesus that are not true to who he saw, how he saw himself. And so I don't know if that helps a little bit, but that's just

Speaker 1:

what is associated with that . Yeah. We don't see Jesus spending a lot of time on an on reputation management. Exactly. Exactly. Well said. Yeah. And I think, I think , um, that's a shame. It didn't make it in the book, but that idea that like, Jesus, his identity is so rooted into a relationship with the father and you know, living through the power of the spirits that nothing can like knock him off his mission because he's so rooted in the identity that he has as the beloved son. And I think that so often. Um, I wonder, and maybe you could, you know , talk about this, that the reason why we live in such a poor, low polarized society right now is because at least among Christians, is because so many of us have lost that foundational identity in Christ as beloved children. And being a part of the same family , um, takes precedent over any other kind of identity. And I think, you know , Jesus is kind of calling into question that like all or nothing mentality that like, you know, if I sit with you, this is like, you know, so basically we've all become farracies , right. You know, if it's all or nothing, you know , we've just become farracies if I sit with you, that means I'm impure. Whether it's a conservative or liberal. This was like, no, we're not doing that.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. And the, the, the, the movement towards our enemies. Um , and people don't like to use that language because we as adults, we're sophisticated enough to say we don't have enemies, but , um , emotionally we feel polarized against other people and we feel some visceral feeling towards people that believe differently, act differently and that movement itself , um, the, the, the, the blockage from that movement is really fear. Um, and in my exploration , uh, my, this really was birthed out of my own local work and we were having so much polarization in our neighborhood and in our Christian community. Um, I thought that the issue is really , um , just learning better conflict resolution skills. Um , those are important and some of that actually makes it in the book. But really what was at the base of it was, was this guttural fear of each other. And , um, Jesus is consistently addressing this really, really tangible human emotion of fear and how it depletes our ability to be with the other.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. I really, I really appreciated the connection you made that like in the book, you know, perfect love casts out fear when you reverse it and you, and actually fear

Speaker 3:

Kathy , that's not something we think about often is that our fear actually makes it impossible to love. Well, and I wonder, I know because the Springs out of your own work, I wonder if he would be willing to maybe tell us a story about how you found connection with God in the midst of a situation where you were with enemies or had to confront an enemy or have a conversation with an enemy. Um, how was God with you in that process or in that moment?

Speaker 2:

Well, probably the most , um, raw one if we want to go there is , um, yeah, isn't really, it wasn't really about , uh, political differences. Um, and, and I have a few of those in the book, but the one for me was really , um, with a specific person. Um, I'll call this person Lisa, that's not her name, but Elisa and , um, they're , you know, a, a difference kind of assembled between us. And , uh, gossip started to kind of unfold and emails started to get blasted. And, and over time this caricature that I was a monster to her was created and my response was to start seeing her as a monster. And I use that language monster because we all can associate, we can, we can connect with that as children when we're something that's a fantasy becomes so real. We think it's actually gonna gobble us up at night when we sleep. And so Lisa became a monster to me. And , um, I, I confessionally did not see God in the midst of that scenario. This is going back a few years and , uh, I lost a lot of sleep. Um, you know, I, as a five, I went inward and avoided. And I remember one moment actually in the grocery store , uh, seeing Lisa and I talk about this in the book and I, my body , uh, um, had a reaction and I dove down behind the stack of oranges in the fruit section because I didn't want to see her. Wow . And very exactly. And here's a grown man at 42 years old who is cowering behind oranges because he doesn't want to see someone he's afraid of. And um, that was actually the, the breaking moment for me to , um, realize that God wanted to do something in me. And I had actually been surrendering to the voice of fear up to that moment. And this voice of fear. Um, I really think goes back to Genesis, the early points of Genesis where , um , Adam and Eve, the first humans listen to that voice of fear that you do not have enough. God is not there for you. Maybe God's holding out on you. Um , maybe your life does not, is not provided for. And I was listening to that voice. And , um, the movement towards a love is realizing that in the midst of this place of scarcity, that I feel this place of self protection is actually where God is most present. What's so interesting and in Genesis two is that God, in Genesis two, God says it's not good for a man to be alone, which is a statement about imperfection. It's not good to be alone. Something's not right here. But that's actually before the fall, before Genesis three, before sin enters into the garden. So the garden isn't about perfection. It's about God's presence. It's that what makes the garden beautiful is that God is here always here, always available. It's not that everything is manicured perfectly because if it was, then Genesis, you know, God being God's saying , um , it's not good for man to be alone with, with not fit that scenario. And so God is present in the furthest extense extent of our fear of the place that we are most panicked to go is where God actually wants to expose the love of the father, son, and spirit to us. And so when I started to realize I was actually quite embarrassed by that grocery store experience, I came home, I told my wife and I started to journal and reflect. I met with a friend and I realized that God was inviting me into his movement to move out of self protection and into self emptying love. And the first thing I had to do was move out of attacking her or avoiding her and move into affection. And that's a big word I use in my book. And it was a, it was a personal word for me . I had to move towards a warmth. And affection is a very visceral word. We like to only see it with people that are intimately married, but affection is how God moved towards us. And Romans talks about that while we were yet enemies, God loved us, moved towards kindness and affection towards us. And so , uh , the way that I practiced it was , um, I put together a gift basket for her. Um, I knew she liked cheese, so I bought expensive cheeses. I knew she liked wine. I bought some bottles of wine and I put together this really beautiful gift basket and I went to her house and brought it to her. Okay. Hold on. Yes . As you're going to her house with this gift basket, what was that like? Oh , out of your body? What came up for you? Well, I could curse right now. I, I was, I was , uh, it was, it was terrorizing for me. Um, I'm an introvert , um, and the safest place for me to be is with my thoughts alone. And here God was inviting me to a physical embodied practice believing that God's was with me. And through this, God was actually showing me his own love. And so , uh, yeah, it was whore .

Speaker 1:

The invitation of God in your life at that moment was in direct opposition to like basically all of your primal bodily responses, your adrenal glands, your heart was pumping your imagination. Uh , why am I doing this? This is horrible. Um, this is stupid. Like all your internal voices are telling , but only the invitation of God and only your identity of being a Christ follower is overriding all those impulses.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. And I wonder if you could say a little bit more about how you were able to hear that invitation or received that invitation because obviously you were experiencing a lot of strong emotion both hiding behind the orange crate and going up her door . So how did you continue to hear, like a lot of times we talk about, Oh yeah, God invited me to , but how, how did you receive that invitation?

Speaker 2:

Well , um, I have a couple practices that do help. Um, they're not a fix all, but they do in some ways they help recalibrate me. Um, one of them is on a Monday morning , uh, every Monday morning. Um, I have just a small amount of silence and I asked these same three questions every month. I've been doing this for the last 17 years. Um, where do you feel inadequate? Where do you feel fear and where do you feel anger? And , um, my leather journal right here , um, is filled with that, that repeated question. And as I was journaling that , um, it excavated , um, my true self at that moment and what I was feeling and I was able to in some sense look in the mirror and see what was having control over me. Um, a lot. I mean, a lot of, a lot of the, one of the key steps towards , um, self-awareness is, is just moving into the practice of reflection and contemplation. And so much of our movement is automatic and autopilot. Um, dr Gottman , I'm not sure familiar with him, but he calls it emotional flooding. We just allow our amygdala to be flooded and we just live in autopilot to that. Um, and so that small little practice did lift to the surface. How , um, how I was actually living into, you know, the scripture calls it the flesh or my false self or the person I didn't not want to be. Um, I love the language of love sentimentally but at that point I was living into fear and so that little exposure helped. And then the moment I brought that to community and brought that to specifically my wife , um, she is , uh , is a prophet and she helped encourage me, give me some courage to um, move towards the bodily practice. Um, so those two things are really helped. Um,

Speaker 1:

all right , so I want to get us back to the doorstep where you're about to go through . You mentioned a doctor and emotional flooding. Who is this? I'm a resource guy . Yeah ,

Speaker 2:

yeah, yeah, he does. Yep . Yep . And he , he mixes a little bit of neurology into his marriage , um, therapy. But he, he's just coined that phrase, crazy emotional flooding as what happens to the amygdala and the only way to break that , um, that predicament where the, the amygdala is just absolutely , uh, drowning is actually to step away and find, he says you need to take a break. Um , you actually cannot move towards the prefrontal cortex at that moment. It's near, it's near impossible to do both at the same time. So actually you have to, and that's what that Monday morning reflection was for me was actually taking a break, sitting still with father, son and spirit, and I was able to get some prefrontal cortex , uh, clear eyes. Oh my, I love, love. I'm just not living into it at this moment. And uh, so , um, yeah, I don't know if that helps a little bit.

Speaker 1:

No, that's great. Okay. So before we go back to the doorstep, I want to ask you also what prep , do you have any recommendations on quality wine and cheese too ? So I'm just curious, what prompted you to think, to use those three questions? The questions, where am I inadequate? Where am I feeling fear? Where am I feeling anger?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, well, they've actually changed a little bit over the years, but uh, the first two have been tweaked , uh, according to my personality. So I'm a five on the Enneagram, which actually I'm a, my fear is my ms setting a darkness. And so I asked that question consistently because that's most of the time where I go and also fives feel inadequacy around their ability to face the world. And , uh, take on the challenges of the world. And so those two things are really accustomed to me. The third one I've asked afraid because I'm actually , uh, anger actually is because I'm actually not in tuned to my anger. Uh, escrow fives don't get angry. Uh, they're not really aware of what they need to be angry about or, you know, you can call me a turd and I just say, Oh, okay, I'm sorry. Um, and I actually should say that's not okay for you to say to me. Um, so I actually asked that third question is one of , uh, that needs to be asked because I , uh, I need to be aware of the anger that's in my body but not actually being contemplated. So,

Speaker 3:

and then once you, once you answer those questions and you notice those places, how do you allow God to be present to you? And

Speaker 2:

yeah. Uh, it, it works out differently. Um, but for most of the time I , um, I bring those to God in prayer and rehearsed to God , um, how I know the father , son and spirit see me. Um, and so some of this is, is , um, kind of Lectio Divina. For me, it's repeating and rehearsing my true identity in the father, son and spirit. Um, and then the other part is actually confession , um, of where , um, I have given myself over , um, to these where , I mean using neurology is actually where I have actually nurtured the amygdala. Um, and so some is confession, some as rehearsing and , um , in that practice kind of recalibrates me and recenters me to kind of move into the week again. So I don't know if that helps.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, no it does. I w I mean , I always want to be as practical as we can do the nurse . So now that you've done that work of recalibrating and recentering, now you're on the doorstep with your gift basket. Tell us more.

Speaker 2:

Well , um, you know, I, I knocked on her door and she opened it and she saw me immediately , um, close the door and , uh, I knocked again and uh, she opened it and said, what do you want? And I said, I just want to give you this gift. I said, I don't know exactly what I've done to you, but I'm sorry and I want to find out how I've hurt you. And , um , you know, with her hands in her pocket , um, it was awkward for her to reach for that basket. I knew there was something happening there physically . And , um, it felt like an attorney is silence , but it was probably only like five seconds. And she finally reached for the basket and said, thank you. And then kind of awkwardly just stood up and looked at each other and she said , um , okay , you can come in and talk. So , uh, we, you know, not give divulging all that happened there, but we, we , um, we weeped and we , uh , both saw how we interpret each other , uh , through a lens of , uh, being monsters. We disagree on some things and, but at the end we came to the center. Um, we came to this place in the middle where even though we disagreed , um, we felt empathy. Um, and we, we shared a warm , uh , affection embrace and there was some healing there. Um, I do think that that, that affection, that action broke open space for that. And , um, I give credit to the spirit and my S my wife for , um, helping me actually creatively think about how to break open space. Um, so

Speaker 3:

yeah, that's powerful that, yeah,

Speaker 2:

not every story ends that way. You know, not every scenario works out that way. Um, and I know that [inaudible]

Speaker 1:

it's like a literal, literal example of what Jesus says. You know, if you're at the alter and you remember that someone has a sin against you , you leave your gift there and you literally, you literally got another gift and you took it to them and you did that work. And certainly like you said, it doesn't always end that way. You know, people , um, can refuse the gift, you know , you could not, she could not have invited you in, you know , and I'm sure a lot of us have those experiences where it's like, I tried, I tried to repair that relationship and it didn't. And I think sometimes then we can internalize that like, Oh, that , that didn't work, or this God thing isn't real. And so I'm just going to compartmentalize what,

Speaker 3:

yeah. And then , and then, right. And then because of having that experience in the past, choosing not to try again, which the other person will , I've tried this before and the person didn't receive it and they got me more. So I'm not going to try again. So how does, how does God's presence with you give you the courage to keep trying? You know, I'm sure you've experienced plenty of moments where people didn't receive it.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. I mean, enemy love is not pragmatic. It's, it's, it is really , um, it's a S it's a step into the supernatural , um, to take those acts. Um, and for me, I think my fuller awareness and , um, the only way I can explain it is that , um, I have known about God's love. I've preached about God's love. I have sang about God's love. Um, I have counseled people about God's love, but there's a , there's a bodily knowing about God's love that can only happen as you re-enact , um, the affection of God towards, towards the, the very last person you want to practice it towards. And that's, that's the good news. And so for me , uh, God has become , uh , more physically tangible to me. Um, the more I have actually reenacted , um, acts of affection towards my enemies , um, I'm bodily know there's a, there's a knowing a full body and understanding coming about slowly , um , of how beloved I am, even though I can be a jerk. And even though I am not living into all the fruits of the spirit, God's kindness is still , um , radiating on me. And so, and that's what renews me. And that's what Hebrews says. Kindness leads to repentance, which really just means affection leads towards transformation. And so the more that I'm attuned to God's affection for me, I can be , um, liberated to extend that affection to others. And

Speaker 1:

I don't know if that's, Oh , that's so powerful that you learn how loved you are by practicing for , you know , any of us who feel like we're in spiritual ruts or that God is distant or that, you know , we're just not growing in the faith. You know, I would ask, I think maybe the challenge for us from this podcast is if you're feeling spiritually dry, look to those places where you have enemies and you're doing nothing about that. Because I know if you start pressing in toward with love towards your enemies, all of a sudden you will experience, you will see God at work. You will find God's spirit speaking to you. But it sounds like the craziest most dangerous thing. So I just want to challenge any of us. If you're feeling dry and stuck, you know, ask God who is my enemy that I've been ignoring and do some movement of love, whether it's a gift, whether it's a short text expressing gratitude , um , or whether it's just praying for them, maybe just start with praying. Just give them a blessing in your heart for them. Um , and see how God might start on kind of unwrapping his presence in your life. Yes. That's good.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. Well, I wish we could keep talking all day, Dan. I feel like there's so much more we could say. Um, but thank you so much for taking the time to be with us today. And for all of you who are listening, again, I just encourage you to grab a copy of love over fear because it's not just a book about politics, it's about much more than that. When Dan talks about with this relationship with Lisa, it's about acknowledging our fear and allowing love to move us past fear. So , um , I highly recommend it and thanks so much for being with us, Dan. And for the rest of you, you can um , catch us on Buzzsprout and Spotify and iTunes and every

Speaker 1:

absolutely. And Dan, where can people find you online?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, online. My website is Dan white jr com and um, my Twitter handle is tan white jr and, and then if they want to check out the V3 movement, which I'm a part of , um , it's uh , a beautiful space of love as well, so.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, absolutely. Well, you can also find it on Facebook too. I know for those of you who are on Facebook, well, thanks again and hopefully we'll have you on again sometime . Oh, it was great. Yeah . It was wonderful. We have the whole like neurology brain science thing that we didn't even cover. I know . Oh , yeah , yeah. That's like holding back an ocean right now to , yeah . Maybe we'll just do like a , like a bonus episode where we just do brain science. I'm a nerd and nerd out. You know, I'm there. I'm there for that game. Let's do it. Alright , well, maybe after the new year. Okay. Well, thanks again. All right . Thank you. [inaudible] .