Today we have the pleasure of interviewing our Author of the Month, Andy Braner. Andy is an author, blogger, speaker and founder of Ahava Ministries, a nonprofit youth ministry for teens and college students. We were able to talk with him about his newest release, No Fear in Love: Loving Others the Way God Loves Us.
This ebook encourages readers to trade condemnation for compassion.
From founding to Ahava Ministries to driving influence through blogging, you seem to be busy and full of energy. Tell us more about what drives you.
I think what drives me is part biological, part spiritual, and part environmental.
I come from a family who works hard, and helped me understand the value of work early in my life. I believe that we’ve all been given a certain number of days on the earth, so I try and make those count. [Click to Tweet!] And, as I look around the world, I like to be involved in interesting discussions.
What ignited your desire to write your newest release No Fear in Love?
I’ve been working in and around the Middle East for the last decade. It was my own fear of Islam that forced me to investigate what Islam really stands for. As I developed deep friendships in Muslim countries, I found much of my fear was based on something I was trying to defend, rather than on something I wanted to grow and flourish. I found that people were people, not objects of my own apologetical mission. And to that end, I found some of the most important friendships of my life.
So when I sat down and looked at the landscape of faith, I believe fear has a lot to do with how people set up their faith, and how they practice their faith in their own communities. I wanted to help people identify their fear, and then be encouraged to jump over the fear keeping them from some important friendships.
In the foreword you write, “My whole life I’ve been taught how to be right and how to point out someone else’s wrongs.” Do you see a lot of Christians further launching themselves into the “I’m right and you’re wrong” camp still today?
Of course there are. It’s kind of how we are created. We need that assurance that we’re right, and everyone else is wrong to develop our tribes, no matter what segment of society we’re living in. Just take a little individual survey and look around in your community. Why are there churches on every street corner? And—if there are—ask yourself, do they work together for the common good?
My experience has been that the churches in a particular town are as competitive as the the small restaurant businesses vying for business during the week. So the only way a certain church can stand out is by making sure they are on the “right” side, and everyone else is on the “wrong” side. If that’s the case in our own faith circles, then how much more is it when you encounter someone outside of your faith circle?
How do you define fear as it relates to the Gospel?
I’m deeply discouraged by people who use the gospel message to fear monger people to faith. They use the old fire and brimstone message to compel people to accept the gospel, but to what end? To just go to heaven instead of hell? Any well-healed person will choose heaven, but the Kingdom Jesus speaks of is so much more intricate than the heaven/hell question.
I find it interesting when Jesus decides to use deep personal relational care with people to lead them to God’s Kingdom. [Click to Tweet!] He doesn’t “scare the hell” out of anyone, but rather; gives people hope, especially to people who have been disenfranchised from the “normal.”
Chapter four in No Fear in Love discusses different worldviews and says that oftentimes “fear drives us to the shadows of ignorance.” What are practical ways we can safely rid ourselves of our fears in order to be more understanding and loving of other cultures?
We’ve got to stop living in these echo chambers where people just inform us what we already lean toward as truth. [Click to Tweet!] We need to challenge our ideas, wrestle with tough concepts, and stop being satisfied with soundbites on the news. Fear is a place where we just don’t know.
I believe when we sit down with people who are different than we are, and learn the how’s and why’s that make them see the world the way they do; relationship emerges, and it’s tough to be afraid of someone who is your friend.
How do you see your readers’ lives being transformed by this book?
My hope is people will read stories that will give them hope. We don’t need to be afraid of a majority of things we’re fearing now. We can step out in faith, and develop a friendship with our next door neighbor, or the people down the street who are from a different faith background than we are.
We don’t need to get all riled up every time a political decision seems to threaten our way of living. We don’t need to create anxiety where there is none. I believe we can trust in the hope that God is still on the throne of heaven and earth, and we can live life in freedom not in fear.
Don’t wait—read Andy Braner’s newest ebook, No Fear in Love: Loving Others the Way God Loves Us, today!
Today we have the pleasure of interviewing our Author of the Month, Andy Braner. Andy is an author, blogger, speaker and founder of Ahava Ministries, a nonprofit youth ministry for teens and college students. We were able to talk with him about his newest release, No Fear in Love: Loving Others the Way God Loves Us. This ebook encourages […]