The Reality of Fear: Preaching in a Frightened World


  • Traugott Roser



Fear is a recurrent theme in today’s popular culture. Film director Steven Spielberg’s lifelong work presents the full range from awe and fear to terror, heading towards a deeply humanist approach of overcoming fear. This article puts homiletics into the context of current sociocultural discourse by applying the concept of ‘paradigm scenario’ (Ronald de Sousa) to fear in media culture and preaching. Preaching, like film, works with emotions such as fear and anxiety, initiating strong physical and mental reaction. To preach within a fearful world demands that one be aware of the psychology of fear. As much as preachers are ready to face their personal fears, they abstain from frightening others. At best, preaching is the art of supporting people to live life liberated by the gospel, speaking up against those who create an atmosphere of fear. The gospel provides numerous paradigm scenarios of courage and vision.

Author Biography

Traugott Roser

Traugott Roser, born 1964, is Professor of Practical Theology in Münster, Germany.