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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Basis of Hope

Where are you just now on the misery-hope index? Why? What spiritual hunger does that leave you with? On a large scale misery-hope index, how would you rate your country compared to early Israel? Why that rating? What can be done about that? What helps you see the light at the end of the tunnel? (Serendipity Bible 10th Anniversary Edition, page 1294-5).

Mankind is in a steady-state of alarm regarding its prognosis for survival. Every generation finds reason to believe that the end times are near. I find solace in the following remarks of Socrates (470-399 B.C.):

Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise; they no longer rise when elders enter the room; they contradict their parents, chatter before company; gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers.

In other words, it seems that every generation looks upon the prognosis for mankind and ends up concluding that disaster is imminent.

In a sense, perhaps the most dangerous affliction of mankind is the malady of Pollyanna hope. A constant undertone of dread may be to our best advantage. My religion, Christianity, embodies both hope and dread. It finds hope in love and the gift of the Spirit and the promise of eternal life. Yet, its vision of the end times are dire.

It seems like much of human history is the equivalent of our undergoing a long-term multiple-choice exam in which we contemplate an answer and even invest in it for a time only to find in the end that the answer is not the best and we must precede forward contemplating and evaluating other possible answers. I am optimistic for I believe that love will triumph over despair ultimately and does so presently in significant ways. The disciplines of love actually work and this uncompromising practicality gives me hope. 


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