Nothing to Fear: Principles and Prayers to Help You Thrive in a Threatening World by Barry C. Black
Reviewed by: Kris Lawfer
Genre: Christian Life
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Publication Date: February 7, 2017
Our world can be kind of scary these days, with temptations and threats of violence big and small coming at us from everywhere. Barry C. Black, the chaplain of the United States Senate, has written a fantastic book of advice for the Christian who wants to not only survive but thrive as a child of God in a dangerous atmosphere.
This book is divided into seven sections, and then each section is further broken down into separate chapters on specific topics (“Fearless Principles”). The organization is particularly helpful not only so you can find a certain topic to re-read, but because you have a distinct list to commit to memory so you can fall back on it in times of need. For example, the first section is “Prepare to be Sent,” and the first chapter is “Prepare for Some Paradoxes,” which discusses four specific principles for approaching Jesus’ exhortion to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves (Matthew 10:16). Each chapter ends with a prayer the reader can use on its own or as a starting point to bring that issue to God.
Chaplain Black uses a combination of his own life stories and stories from the Bible to illustrate his points. Aside from examples, he cites the teachings of Jesus, Paul, and other important figures frequently, so that his principles and advice are always based on Scripture. Often the principles include practical advice, instead of simply suggesting something theoretical with no suggestion on how to achieve it. For example, Chaplain Black includes a principle called “Commune with God,” and then recommends the Jesuit practice of the Daily Examen as a real-life example of one way to do it.
I found this book to be very useful in my everyday life. While reading theology is also interesting, here is advice from someone who admits he has experienced the same struggles I have—practical advice that is not difficult to implement on a regular basis. I have gone back to re-read things several times, as an inspiration or a reminder. Having these strategies in your back pocket improves your confidence as you interact with the rest of the world, regardless of your personal calling or position.
I highly recommend this book if you’re looking for Christian strategies to confront the threats of our world while keeping your feet firmly planted on good soil.
Rated PG: Although there is a chapter on avoiding lust, the principles therein relate more to a permissive attitude than lust itself. The rest of the book is clean.
Reviewer’s copy was provided by the Publisher. Thank you!