Fear of the Other
Book by William Willimon
In this no non-sense book, reliable spiritual guide, Will Willimon, invites readers to consider the Gospel command to love (and not merely tolerate) those considered to be “Other” or outside mainstream Christian culture.
Rooted in the faith of Israel and the Christian story and vision, Willimon brings a Wesleyan perspective to bear on what may be the hardest thing for people of faith to do: keeping and loving the “Other” as they are – without any need for them to become like us.
Emphasizing biblical teaching to receive Others for who they are and their differences as gifts and mysteries bearing the grace of God, Willimon also offers a strong critique of the privileged who all too often rush to speak of reconciliation and evade the injustice of huge inequalities faced by foreigners and strangers – as well as the antagonism the stranger experiences. He identifies concrete, everyday ways persons are formed in welcoming others without annihilating their differences.
With the New Testament understanding of Gentile outsiders grafted into the covenant community, Willimon invites readers to an on-the-ground faith that remembers the God who comes to us again and again through so-called outsiders, strangers, immigrants, and those without status. Beyond welcome, Christians must become “other” to the world, shaking off the dominant culture’s identity and privilege through practices of listening, humility, and understanding.
This book is complete with study questions at the end of each chapter help guide your discussion. In addition, there is a DVD and leaders guide available to help facilitate this study. This is not necessary for the study, but may be helpful for those who prefer a video-driven format. You can also download the following PDF with an updated guide (many of the questions have been rewritten and a few additional questions added) in an easy-to-use and printable format.
Here is a brief teaching from the author, discussing topics from his book. You can find more in-depth videos on DVD using the link above. You may find these useful as you explore the content in this study.