ADVERTISING
 
Wednesday, January 17   Sign in or Register
 
Evangelical Focus
 

 
ADVERTISING
 
 
FOLLOW US ON
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud
 

Newsletter
Newsletter, sign up to receive all our News by email.
 
 

POLL
Evangelical Focus is three years old
When was the first time you visited Evangelical Focus?





SEE MORE POLLS
 

 
TOP 10 MOST VIEWED



René Breuel
 

The fear of belonging

Possession is less demanding than belonging, but it raises anxiety nonetheless to an aging person.

CULTURE MAKING AUTHOR René Breuel 02 DECEMBER 2017 18:00 h GMT+1

Why are we afraid of belonging? Because we lose control? Independence? Pride?



I thought about these questions flying back home from a hug-filled conference in Lisbon, when islands of saneness emerged between trips to take my sons to the plane’s bathroom and they swinging their iPad right and left to play a new jet ski app.



Yet it wasn’t a relationship or situation that got me thinking about belonging, but some abstract lines by T. S. Eliot. (Or, I realize it now, their juxtaposition to these concrete experiences.)



Half-way through Eliot’s ethereal, otherworldly Four Quartets, he writes:




Do not let me hear

Of the wisdom of old men, but rather of their folly,

Their fear of fear and frenzy, their fear of possession,

Of belonging to one another, or to others, or to God.




It is a poet’s skill to pack vast observations in a few phrases – each adding a twist to the previous one, like a slender, rebellious snake. Here he writes about wanting to hear not of wisdom but of folly, that is, fear of fear (is it really foolish?), of frenzy, of possession.



I found it a true, and curious, observation: the fear of possession. It entails responsibility, the embrace of otherness that is brought into the sphere of the self. For possessing something is a step on the way to belonging to someone, isn’t it?



Possession is less demanding than belonging, but it raises anxiety nonetheless to an aging person: who will I leave this house/debt/life project to?



Which entails the question of belonging to one another. Or, as the snake shakes further from our hands, the fear of belonging to others beyond our control, or to the ultimate Other – God. That freaks us out, doesn’t it? Belonging to God? Utterly entrusting ourselves? Die a slow, lonely death would be a less anxious prospect for many of us.



But that is what Eliot claims to want to hear of in these lines. We can only speculate why. Because he was an old man himself at this point? To find camaraderie when witnessing the fears of aging friends?



Another famous part of this poem brings again to the surface the theme of God.




Except for the point, the still point,

There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.




It is a classy argument for God: except for the still point holding firm the whole of existence, there would be no frenzy, no movement, no dance. And there is only the dance.



The lucidity to properly conclude this article eludes me, now that my computer marks 11:09 pm and Matteo sleeps with his head on my thigh. His chest expands as he inhales; Pietro just asked for juice.



The stewardess passed offering lottery tickets, all is dark outside the window. Maybe this is my conclusion: a dim sense that we can move beyond the fear of fear. When we dare to possess and belong. When the unending dance is traced to the still point.



For there is only the dance.


 

 


0
COMMENTS

    If you want to comment, or

 



 
 
YOUR ARE AT: - - - The fear of belonging
 
ADVERTISING
 
 
 
AUDIOS Audios
 
Michael Schluter: Relationships are the key to build Europe Michael Schluter: Relationships are the key to build Europe

The economist summarises the manifesto “Confederal Europe: Strong Nations, Strong Union” and explains why personal relationships should be at the centre of our economy, education and democracy. 

 
Gary Wilkerson: The Bible, the Holy Spirit and the Reformation Gary Wilkerson: The Bible, the Holy Spirit and the Reformation

Pastor Gary Wilkerson talks about what all evangelical Christians can learn from the Protestant Reformation and underlines the need for more churches with both a sound doctrine and obedience to the Holy Spirit.

 
Lindsay Brown: Islam and the Gospel in Europe Lindsay Brown: Islam and the Gospel in Europe

Is the arrival of thousands of Muslims to Europe a threat to Christianity? What is the growth of evangelical churches in Eastern and Southern Europe? An interview with theologian and Lausanne Movement representative Lindsay Brown.

 
Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues

The World Evangelical Alliance Secretary General participated in the Italian Evangelical Alliance assembly (Rome, 8-9 April). In this interview with Evangelical Focus, Bp Tendero talks about the need to listen to local churches and to face challenges like the refugee crisis and climate change. 

 
Evi Rodemann: Youth and mission Evi Rodemann: Youth and mission

“We want to see the youth not just being equipped, but also being multipliers”, Evi Rodemann director of Mission-Net. The European Congress took place in Germany from December 28 to January 2.

 
Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum

Pritchard explains the vision of ELF, comments on the 2015 event in Poland and reflects on what it means to have an "evangelical identity".

 
PICTURES Pictures
 
The President in an evangelical church on Christmas Eve The President in an evangelical church on Christmas Eve

For the first time, the President of Portugal attended a worship service in an evangelical church. It was in Sintra, on Christmas Eve.

 
Lausanne younger leaders gathering in Budapest Lausanne younger leaders gathering in Budapest

About 70 people from European countries met at the Younger Leaders Gen gathering in Hungary (19-22 October) to discuss the challenges of the church in the continent and build partnerships. Photos: Evi Rodemann and Jari Sippola.

 
I am not on sale I am not on sale

Young Christians gathered at Madrid’s central square Sol to denounce human trafficking. A flashmob highlighted the work of three evangelical NGOs which support women who escape sexual slavery in Spain.

 
Stamps to commemorate the Reformation Stamps to commemorate the Reformation

Poland, Lithuania, Namibia and Brazil are some of the countries that have issued special stamps on the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 theses.

 
VIDEO Video
 
Heart Heart

A short animation film by Swiss cartoonist Alain Auderset tells the message of the Bible in four minutes.

 
He is... He is...

A video about Colossians 1:15-20.

 
Creation Care and the Gospel, in France Creation Care and the Gospel, in France

The conference drew about 90 delegates from across Europe. Scientists, theologians, activists reflected together on the theme “God’s Word and God’s World”.

 
“It is inconsistent to say we love the Creator while we destroy His creation” “It is inconsistent to say we love the Creator while we destroy His creation”

In creation care, “we need more people who lead by example”, says well-known Brazilian politician and activist Marina Silva. 

 
Philip Yancey interview Philip Yancey interview

An 8-minute interview with Philip Yancey on the role of Christians in a secularised society. Recorded in Madrid, September 2016.

 
An interview with Prof. John Lennox An interview with Prof. John Lennox

New atheism, the definition of "faith", Christianity in Europe, the role of the Bible in mission, and the need to listen more. An exclusive interview recorded at "Forum Apologética" (Tarragona, Spain) in May 2016.

 
 
Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube
 
 
WE RECOMMEND
 
PARTNERS
 

 
AEE
EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.
 

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.