Finding hope in desperate times

Bob Seitz writing for the Alban Institute wonder how many preachers have the courage and vision to preach authentically in troubled times:

Two large, destructive waves are building or crashing around us, perhaps inside us as well. The names of the waves are well known: the worldwide economic crisis and environmental collapse. Both waves are likely to continue to influence human history and psychology for the foreseeable future. Both waves could seem to wash away hope, as though despair were actually bedrock.

In the one case—economic collapse—the wave seems to be a relatively short-term occurrence. The collapse of net worth and net profit, a rise in the number of unemployed and underemployed workers, an increase in worldwide poverty, the unraveling of assured economic theory—all point to inevitable outcomes that we hope will be survivable, given time.

In the second case—environmental collapse—the wave is much larger, growing slowly and inexorably, perhaps fueled by the same causes that engendered the first wave. This wave is growing large enough to block our ability to see any reliable reference point for thinking or acting.

If you’re finding these times to be overwhelming, you might be tempted to claim that you don’t know anyone who’s hopeful, as though your lack of knowledge were an excuse to slog around in despair. Even though gloom might seem to fill news stories, undergird advertising, and grab the attention mechanisms of your brain, hope is equally present in those same venues. There’s more to know than despair!

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