Monday, February 8, 2010

Reflection for the Week

There are at least two ways a crisis of hope may express itself. First, pessimism: cynicism overtakes us and we decide to take matters into our own hands. Second, optimism: naïve idealism saturates us and we decide that God will resolve it all for us. Neither of these false options has much to do with a Christian point of view and both will leave us empty. Yet we may tend to spend significant amounts of time and energy floating from pessimism or optimism, or attempting to solidify and barricade ourselves in one perspective or the other. Never this simple, life with God will challenge these tendencies and in so doing refigure the false options into growing opportunities for engaging in community with God, others, and the world.



Living Spiritual Rhythms For Today


Nita said...

Thanks, Greg, for this insightful meditation! I happen to be on vacation, some 1,400 miles away in a beach resort (it's high summer in the tropics!), so I have been trying to stay away from my notebook... I do agree with your take on our "crisis of hope" in that we should seek to strike a balance between a cynical pessimism and a naïve optimism. I think, though, that I too often tend to get disappointed with my own attempts at overcoming pessimism with optimism, as if I could handle the way things unfold. It's been my personal experience that hope seems to be more like a lifelong learning process, sometimes it does strike me like a lightning bolt and surprises me when I feel totally hopeless. Thanks for posting this beautiful reflection!

Greg said...

Thanks. Vive les vacances! Enjoy!

Moving in the appropriate directions of trust and suspicion remains a challenge, while hope in the future of Jesus Christ offers a life long antidote to the tempting responses of the false options of optimism or pessimism that run through our veins.

Angela said...

I became hopeful yesterday as I was holding a heavy burden and was reminded by this writing that it's not all my responsibility; that God is there, too.

However, something seems to be lacking here in this balancing act. What about the healing works of Christ bringing hope to many? This doesn't seem like a balancing act between pessimism
and optimism but a full demonstration of his power. Would this not continue today if it were the same Christ? I do see that when Christ heals, he may be calling the individual to act. But the individual seems more dependent on God for hope than on self to act, except that depending on
God can be hard discipline when there are all sorts
of other things to depend on in life. Including self.

Greg said...

Thanks. Yes, I agree with you about the false options balancing act and that's why I appealed to Christ as a life long antidote to either optimism or pessimism as I formulated them.

Seems to me that there is an appropriate dependence on God and that this doesn't cancel out the necessity to act - in fact, God wants us to so act on the hope that he offers to us through Christ and the power of the Spirit. God calls us to be present and involved, which in no way though plays down the importance of us being dependent on him.

Angela said...

Yeah, I understand. I like how you say it...
"Christ as a life long antidote to either optimism or pessimism".

Thanks, Greg. I see more clearly now what you meant.

Greg said...

Glad it's more clear!