The Discovery Channel posted a casting call using Twitter on July 31, 2013, with the dare to “Survive the 21-day challenge.” Season one of “Naked and Afraid” aired in 2015. Despite skepticism, the ratings for this reality show set new records for its genre.
The storyline is straightforward with overtones of the first couple in the creation story. Except that God doesn’t hang out with them. Two people meet in an isolated place with nothing but a satchel and an item of their choice. The audience is invited to witness the couple’s anxiety, fear, and eventual success in snippets that compress 21 days of survival into a single episode.
The truth is that I’ve never watched a single episode or even part of one. I’m aware of this show from the numerous commercials and the research I did for this article. The provocative title caught my attention as I looked for material for a worship series that considers overcoming fear.
Our new series uses Adam Hamilton’s book on the subject of fear titled “Unafraid: Living with Courage and Hope in Uncertain Times.1 His book begins with a declaration that we live in times of high anxiety. And the uncertainty of the current year is even greater than it was when this book was published. It’s understandable if we conclude that every one of us is either living in fear or denial.
Leading up to the presidential election of 2016, surveys showed that people living in our country were afraid about becoming a victim of terrorism. This fear prevailed despite lower crime numbers overall. In The Atlantic, Molly Ball noted that fear would be the key to a Trump presidency. And her prediction proved accurate. A campaign of fear and anger prevailed at the polls. 2
In her article, Molly cites the science of fear, noting that fearful persons hold tightly to what they have and eye all that is different with skepticism. Fearful people seek protection.
In the creation story found in Genesis, we read that the first humans hid from God after their loss of innocence. When God confronted them, their response was, “I was afraid and hid from you, because I was naked” (Genesis 3:10). This sounds like a different kind of fear than a fear of terrorism. But fear’s impact is similar regardless of the source of our fear. To live in fear is to miss out on the joy that life offers.
One of the most frequent responses that God makes to fearful people is, “Do not be afraid.” Yet, when Adam Hamilton surveyed people attending his church, he discovered that eighty percent lived with either moderate or significant fear. We all fear something, someone, or some situation. How we choose to respond to our fear matters.
I was afraid and hid from you, because I was naked.
Over the coming month, we will take a deeper dive into both the sources of our fears and learn practical ways to overcome our fears.
I pray that you will join us each Sunday morning at 10:30 am. We plan to be live via webinar, through Facebook live, or you can call (929) 436-2866 and enter the meeting number — 324 841 204. We go live at 10:30 am. You can find these links along with more information about us on our website at FlintAsbury.org.
1 Adam Hamilton. Unafraid: Living with Courage and hope in Uncertain Times. © 2018. New York: Penguin Random House.
2 Molly Ball. “Donald Trump and the Politics of Fear.” © September 2, 2016. The Atlantic.