As a child, I absolutely loved the 1960’s Disney movie Pollyanna with Hayley Mills. There was something about the hope and joy that this little girl brought into the life of so many people that spoke to my heart.
It’s easily been 20 years since I’ve seen the movie, but one of the bits of dialogue that always stuck with me had to do with the message about “glad” and “sad” pieces of Scripture.
These days, to accuse someone of being “a Pollyanna” implies being naively optimistic. But I think she was on to something. And I think that an inordinate focus on the fire and brimstone messages of Scripture does damage to people’s faith. Whether I’m talking with an 83 year old woman on a retreat, a group of high school kids in a theology class, or a mom in her mid 30’s over a glass of wine, I find that people’s faith has been scarred by a fear of God and the threat of hell.