“The Best Alternative to Fear is Love.”
PART ONE (Pulpit to Pew) includes 25 selections from candid sermons (reconstituted from his notes) by Joy Ibsen's father, Harald Ibsen, as presented to listeners in rural midwestern congregations. Organized according to the church year rather in time sequence (Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Pentecost) beginning with Christmas, 1939, each sermon brief is followed by a listeners' story (fictional except for a few autobiographical) showing how the listener(s) are affected by fear (i.e. war, death, crops, loneliness, disappointments, disability prejudice) and how their lives are transformed.
In the new section, PART TWO (Parables and Pandemic), Joy again uses her father's sermon notes to interpret Biblical parables, relating them to our present era. Timeless but timely messages are presented by a (fictional) woman pastor to an urban New Mexico congregation who are challenged by fear of Covid 19, social isolation, economic loss, and the unknown. Each chapter shows the power of how spiritual truths, community support, and new insights enable us to live unafraid in challenging times.
The sermons and stories are very powerful because they reflect the community-centered philosophy theology of N.F.S. Grundtvig ("Human First, then Christian" and "Freedom for Loki as well as for Thor"), a 19th century philosopher-theologian with amazing relevance to 21st century issues and whose teachings are well known to the Ibsens, but not well known in the United States. Becoming UNAFRAID is an incredibly helpful path to spiritual renewal which is necessary for handling both existing and upcoming worldwide changes.