Every so often I get the privilege to entertain an always robust and all-encompassing (a.k.a. “junk drawer type”) conversation with one of my friends (who is also my neighbor). He and I share the similar joys of conversing, listening, learning, and sometimes even healthy disagreements. The other day my friend and I had the chance to talk after a long day. As I sit here and reflect on past conversations with him it is funny because whenever we talk our conversations seem to always arrive at one main idea (and this most recent one followed suite). The idea is essentially this: “our world is messed up, so how do we fix it?” It is always interesting because our paths seem to diverge at this point in the conversation (thus arriving at the “healthy disagreement” portion of our discussion) because of our varying world views. I think that the impetus for us arriving at these two different points about what the world needs is caused by nothing less than what we place our hope in.
In fact, the other night when we were talking the subject of hope was specifically brought up. Even though he and I have profoundly different world views, in our discussion on hope we were able to find one commonality. The common thread was the necessity of hope. In the midst of our discussion, it was obvious that we both agreed that hope for humans is nearly essential to a “thriving” human life. Where our conversation went next is where our paths diverged.
My friend was of the belief that the human hope could be anything, and simply having that hope (no matter where it was placed) satisfied the necessity of hope. So, in some ways he viewed hope relativistically. I, on the other hand, stated that hope was only validated by whether or not that which you placed your hope in actually delivered or not. So, for me, the necessity of hope wasn’t satisfied by simply having “a” hope of sorts, but “the” hope that is actually able to deliver on what you’re expecting. This aspect of the conversation didn’t last that long, but I learned a lot from it.
I have recently been reading a book entitled Surprised by Hope by N.T. Wright and it has got me mulling over hope that fulfills the cosmic longings to see things set right. In his book, Wright hammers away at the misconceptions that Christians today have about the resurrection and the hope that the Bible portray’s. His main argument is that we have minimized the hope of Christianity to our eternal security in heaven only. The reality of the hope Wright refreshes his readers with is that through the resurrection, we not only have a future hope (being raised from the dead to inhabit God’s newly remade world), but also a present reality since Christ is now Lord over all creation (he has overthrown death, and has given us, His church, His spirit to begin this restorative process). In summary, Wright brings forth a robust yet ancient understanding of the resurrection that brightens the pages of 1 Corinthians 15, Colossians 3, and the like.
My question to pose to those who read this is what makes a hope truer than another (aka Christianity to the rest)? In my view, if Christianity is true, then it trumps all other possible hopes. There is not one that could be greater, more glorious, or as all-encompassing. But tell me, what do you think?
I have wrestled a lot this summer with the idea of hope because being in the midst of support raising to go on staff with h2o Church. It has been a “forging character” kind of summer for me as I explained in my last post, but it is challenging me to hope in God even when there is seems to be little hope remaining. But the interesting thing about the hope of Christianity is that it can never be circumstantial. Just take a look at the last few verses of Romans 8 to discover that. It is because of the resurrection that the Christian hope is not swayed by the difficulties of say support raising or the other, more difficult, trials of life. It is not the circumstances of life that give me hope, but rather the risen Christ.
Again, as I did before, I hope to satisfy those wondering about how I am doing with support raising. I am at about 55% as of now. On August 27th I begin my senior year. I am looking forward to the month ahead and simply seeing God in it and pursuing what God has called me into this year.