Senate chaplain Barry Black reflects on 14 years of pastoring politicians.
When Senate chaplain Barry Black finished his keynote address at the National Prayer Breakfast on February 2, the normally restrained crowd of religious leaders, politicians, and visiting dignitaries jumped to their feet and cheered wildly. Then President Trump took the podium and voiced his appreciation. “I don’t know, Chaplain, whether or not that’s an appointed position,” President Trump said. “I don’t even know if you’re a Democrat or if you’re a Republican, but I’m appointing you for another year.” We caught up with Black to talk about his new book, Nothing to Fear, pastoring both sides of the political aisle, and the importance of a leader’s “ethical congruence.”
Many described 2016 as a scary year. But the message of your book is that there’s nothing to fear. Can you unpack that?
Well, it’s a message that’s all through the Bible. First John 4 says, “There is no fear in love, for perfect love casteth out fear.” And 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “God has not given us a spirit of fear.” So whenever we as people of faith begin to experience the fear effect, we know immediately that it is not of God. We need to question and challenge it. And as we discover how perfect love enables us to cope with fear, then we ought to be able, as leaders, to share those coping strategies with others.
When a senator comes to you with fears and worries, how do you respond?
It’s very difficult to live in this world without some anxiety and fear. Our Lord said, “In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33). In Job 14:1, it says, “Man that is born of a woman is of few days, full of trouble.” I’ve …