This article demonstrates that a state of anxiety, which includes fear, can be harmful and destructive not only on the personal but also on the communal and societal levels. Democratic South Africa (post-1994), a highly religious country, is a case in point. Rather than experiencing and conveying to others the positive, life-affirming effect of faith, pervasive anxiety and fear have taken hold of the people, the effect of which is disruptive and destructive. The author argues that the challenge is to transcend fear and anxiety, participate in “the Great Divine Cleanup,” and touch the lives of others with a message of freedom and hope.
This article is based on a paper read at a conference of the New Directions in Pastoral Theology group hosted October 5–7, 2016, at Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, New Jersey.