Hope Matrix











What is it that makes us struggle with being consistent? In part it is the fact that our thoughts and experiences don’t come at us consistently. Life is genuinely complex. When we try to simplify it we can end up with some odd distortions that are obvious and irritating to others who don’t screen out things the same way.

Cynical realists, for example, see that life is complicated and full of problems and to deny it is unhealthy. Life is dukkha (Buddhist term) and then you die! So, just find stuff you like, do it, don’t explain it, and avoid dramatic people.

Morbid weirdos, on the other hand, are those who observe the dark side of life and try and exult in it. They are not ‘matter of fact’ about the problem of evil, they are immersed in it. It is their anti-hope.

Happy Shiny People freak everyone else out except some other Happy Shiny People. These are people who insist they have it all figured out and they are on the right side and you could be happy and shiny if you would just join up with them.

So who are the agents of hope? God only knows!! Not being God, I can only say what I perceive to be the case (Lord save me from slipping into delusion here). Agents of hope are people who do not pretend that everything is solved if you follow their 7 step method and buy their insider t-shirts and trinkets. Agents of hope see that life is full of mystery, pain, suffering and confusion. Yet they do not embrace the problem of evil, nor shrug at it. What they do is humbly seek the most reasonable response to the problems of life and seek to be a realistic part of the solution.

In the Christian community we should be aiming for the AGENTS of HOPE category, but we often veer off course in one of two ruts while ranting against the last option (morbid weirdness). The fact is most Christians are not just barely hanging on against the temptation to become Satanists or such. The danger for most Christians is becoming deluded with exaggerated experiences and arrogance of being on the INSIDE pitying all those on the OUTSIDE. The other ditch we run into, while listening to wild warnings about becoming a morbid weirdo, is the collapse of hope. Not wanting to be a plastic religion freak we become susceptible to every case of unjustified hope and faith and end up doubting everything. Most sad Christian stories are of these two varieties. Stretched faced nifty people or doubt drenched recovering ex-religionists.

So what can we do to have a living faith? Jesus exhorts avoiding a couple of things. 1) do not do your works of righteousness for people to see you and praise you! 2) do not be so shallow as to fail to see the source of beauty, love and inspiration echoing throughout this troubled world. Soberly see the hurting confusion but humbly seek the transcendent hope. And then? Seek to live in that Kingdom here in this world, for the good of all and the glory of One.

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