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Miscamble speaks at first ‘Breaking Bread’ event

Matt Bramanti | Thursday, March 25, 2004

Fear isn’t a topic people generally like to talk about, but a talk by Father Bill Miscamble, a history professor and superior at Moreau Seminar, entitled “Fear and the Christian Life” drew more than 100 attendees Tuesday.The event, held in the press box at Notre Dame Stadium, brought students and faculty together for the address, followed by candid discussion over a catered meal.Senior Jennie Bradley, who organized the event, said it was the first in a “Breaking Bread” series, to be held once per semester. The title of the series was inspired by a passage from Luke’s gospel: “They recognized [Jesus] in the breaking of the bread.”Bradley said the dinner was an opportunity to engage students and professors in a setting outside the classroom.”We wanted to create a forum for informal student-faculty interaction, particularly on faith issues,” she said. “Talking over a meal is a very natural setting, and it makes people very comfortable.”Each attendee was given a copy of “Following Jesus: Biblical Reflections on Discipleship” and a collection of short vignettes by theologian N.T. Wright, the Anglican bishop of Durham, in northeast England.Bradley said a particular reflection in the book inspired her choice of the evening’s topic.”I just happened to read the reflection on fear, and I thought it was so powerful,” she said. “‘Do not be afraid’ is the most repeated commandment in the Scriptures.”During his speech, Miscamble said fear pervades most aspects of human life. He cited “the big ones”- fears about relationships, careers and growing old and dying, but he said fear is also present in smaller matters.”There are fears at every stage along the journey of life,” Miscamble said. “I suspect that each of you have your own special fears.”It seems a part of the human condition.”Miscamble said the antidote to fear is a life of Christian faith.”As our trust and hope in the Lord increases, our fears will decrease,” he said. “When we have resolved to follow the Lord, we have fewer things to worry about.”However, he said a certain amount of fear is healthy – but often absent – in modern society. “In the age of Enron and WorldCom, we should be afraid to lie, to cheat, to slander and so on, because of the damage it does to others, to ourselves and to our community,” he said. “We may fear things but we have lost the fear of Satan, the fear of hell.”Bradley praised Miscamble as a personable, caring professor who enjoys interacting with Notre Dame students.”He really connects with students well because he’s so on point but he’s not overbearing,” she said. “His manner is just perfect.”Following the 30-miunte talk, 14 faculty members from the philosophy, theology and history departments, as well as from the Law School and the College of Engineering, dined with students and discussed the topic of fear.The event was sponsored by the Center for Ethics and Culture.