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Break Open the Sky
Cover of Break Open the Sky
Break Open the Sky
Saving Our Faith from a Culture of Fear
Borrow Borrow
In a World that Thrives on Fear, Have Faith
Compared to all previous generations, we are safer, live longer, hurt less, and earn more. Yet we are more afraid than ever. Fear has slipped into our souls, leaving us on edge and constantly anxious. No longer a safe harbor, a source of strength, or a bastion for love, faith has fallen prey to a culture of fear.

We face a defining moment. Will we cave to fear or rise in faith? Stephan Bauman, the former president of World Relief, has seen firsthand in some of the most difficult places in the world how it is possible to embrace love in the face of fear. Break Open the Sky is an invitation to live in authentic faith, free from fear and its debilitating symptoms.

By embracing Jesus's core yet counterintuitive teachings on truth, love, and risk, you can find freedom from the fear of the unknown, release from the uncertainty of the other, and liberation from the anxieties that hold you back.

Are you ready to pursue a countercultural kingdom of grace and love rather than safety and comfort? If so, here is your guide for changing the atmosphere of your culture, church, and world. It will only happen as you take risks big enough to break open the sky.
In a World that Thrives on Fear, Have Faith
Compared to all previous generations, we are safer, live longer, hurt less, and earn more. Yet we are more afraid than ever. Fear has slipped into our souls, leaving us on edge and constantly anxious. No longer a safe harbor, a source of strength, or a bastion for love, faith has fallen prey to a culture of fear.

We face a defining moment. Will we cave to fear or rise in faith? Stephan Bauman, the former president of World Relief, has seen firsthand in some of the most difficult places in the world how it is possible to embrace love in the face of fear. Break Open the Sky is an invitation to live in authentic faith, free from fear and its debilitating symptoms.

By embracing Jesus's core yet counterintuitive teachings on truth, love, and risk, you can find freedom from the fear of the unknown, release from the uncertainty of the other, and liberation from the anxieties that hold you back.

Are you ready to pursue a countercultural kingdom of grace and love rather than safety and comfort? If so, here is your guide for changing the atmosphere of your culture, church, and world. It will only happen as you take risks big enough to break open the sky.
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Excerpts-
  • From the book We are not trapped or locked up
    in these bones.
    No, no. We are free to change.
    And love changes us.
    And if we can love one another,
    we can break open the sky.
    —WalterMosley

    There is no fear in love.
    —John,the disciple of Jesus

    Introduction

    Disillusioned

    You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore.
    —WilliamFaulkner

    A few days before Christmas in 2015, the sound of bullets striking steel forced a passenger bus in northeastern Kenya to screech to a halt. A group of ten militants from al-Shabaab, a Somali terrorist group, stormed the bus. With guns pointed they asked the passengers to identify their religious affiliation — Muslimor Christian. Their intention was to kill the Christians. Only a year before, terrorists had boarded a similar bus and executed twenty-eight non-Muslim passengers.1

    But the passengers refused to comply. Instead, Muslims gave their fellow Christian travelers religious attire so they wouldn't be identified. Then they told the terrorists "to kill them together or leave them alone."2 "We stuck together tightly," said one Muslim passenger. "The militants threatened to shoot us, but we still refused and protected our brothers and sisters" until the attackers "gave up and left."3

    Somehow this story slipped by us mostly unnoticed. Maybe it was the holiday rush or the excitement over the release of the latest Star Wars film. Or maybe we couldn't take another story about terrorism after the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino. Or maybe we just didn't like the story. Amid the growing animosity toward refugees, it seemed inconceivable that a group of Muslims would protect their Christian "brothers and sisters" from certain death.

    Last year while I was visiting a seminary in New England, a first-year student asked me why she "experienced more love outside the church than within." Christian discourse seemed to mirror the vitriol of the national debate, where perspectives are polarized and racism and xenophobia are thinly veiled. Within her own community a growing undercurrent of fear troubled her. Hesitant in tone and demeanor and careful not to blame or judge anyone, she wondered what had become of the faith community she loved so much. How could so many people denounce immigrants, refugees, or Muslims yet still profess to follow the One who asks us to love not only the "least of these" but our enemies as well? 4

    Data seems to support our friend's angst. When it comes to what happens in our country today, more than 40 percent of Americans "believe that people of faith (42%) and religion (46%) are part of the problem."5

    Faith, it seems, has a branding problem.

    Meanwhile, anxiety in the United States has reached epidemic levels.6 "We are living in the most fear mongering time in human history," said Barry Glassner, a leading sociologist and author of The Culture of Fear. "There's a lot of power and money available to individuals and organizations who can perpetuate these fears."7 And when it comes to racial tension, 84 percent of adults agree "there is a lot of anger and hostility between different ethnic and racial groups in America."8

    But maybe our fears are justified. After all, we live in precarious times. The magnitude of suffering we witness on the global stage —whether from acute acts of terrorism, chronic violence, or sudden injustice— invites a torrent of fear and raises a thousand questions. An avalanche of opinions proffered daily by news outlets, radio talk shows, and social media leaves us feeling thread bare, disillusioned, and even nauseous...
About the Author-
  • Stephan Bauman is the author of Seeking Refuge and Possible and the former president of World Relief, a church-based international relief and development agency that reaches more than five million vulnerable people a year. An ordained minister, he holds degrees from John Hopkins University, Wheaton College, and the University of Wisconsin. Stephan and his wife, Belinda, and their two sons live in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Reviews-
  • Ed Stetzer, Billy Graham Distinguished Endowed Chair for Church, Mission, and Evangelism, Wheaton College "We live in a brave new world where terrorism, racism, and bigotry drive an engine of fear in our society and within our churches. Bauman tackles these topics head-on, compelling us by God's love and exciting us by his grace to reject fear, embrace risk, and rediscover faith to care for people in the shadows. Break Open the Sky is a much-needed and valuable work that speaks to our current landscape in a fresh, new way."
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    The Crown Publishing Group
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  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

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Break Open the Sky
Break Open the Sky
Saving Our Faith from a Culture of Fear
Stephan Bauman
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