Hope in the
Noise Oct.14, 2022
First published in PS Update
“Let us consider how to provoke one another to love & good deeds”-Heb.10:24NRSVUE
“...what does the Lord require of you but to do justice & to love kindness & to walk humbly with your God ” -Micah 6:8bNRSVUE
Is it hard for you to hold on to hope in the noise of news, people, events, & politics? You’re not alone. Soundbites swirl around us promising certainty in place of honest engagement. Problematically, certainty that diminishes others is arrogance, not confidence nor truth. This then oozes into our being, polluting what was once kind talk, formerly open to the possibility of learning from & compromising with one another. Then hope is hidden.
These encounters hold anger, fear, control & sometimes hatred, instead of hope, mutual care, & shared interest in building up one another. These are not elements of a strong community, faith, individual, or conversation. Yet we feel stuck with the present state of affairs. Some react with defensive assurance that certainty is our duty. Most ache as life-giving hope ebbs.
What shall we do? Is there hope?
Yes! My faith teaches me that truth comes with a forbearing, patient love. Good communication teaches deep listening as a prerequisite to being heard. Strong business & negotiation skills speak of the sweet spot where we all leave with something of value—no one departs feeling deceived or disadvantaged. I could go on with education, psychology, research methodology, journalism, health & wellness…. Suffice it to say domination deals death; mutuality nurtures hope. This truth is multidisciplinary.
There is a better way!
¨ “I’m going to show you an even better way.”-1Cor. 12:31 (intro to the famous “Love chapter” in the bible, 1 Cor.13)
¨ “Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul- & sings the tunes without the words - & never stops at all.” -Emily Dickinson
¨ “Hope is patience with the lamp lit.” -Tertullian (2nd Cent. African Christian author)
Hope’s power comes from a foundation far greater than any one of us. It’s power embraces a now-into-the-future positive perspective that there is more than what we see in the moment. Hope is big enough to be framed with faith, wisdom, or spirit, yet is not limited by any one individual or group’s understanding. Hope is available to all.
There is hope amid the noise of 24/7-confirmation-biased news. There is hope beyond the deluge of negativity & hostility. Hope is found in faith, friendship, learning together, honest sharing. Hope need never fade away when firmly grounded. There is hope amid the noise.
Allow me to offer two things: First, my faith links my hope to Jesus Christ. And (this is very important) my understanding of Christian faith offers a broad, inviting, & including possibility; one that some of the broader Christian family would take issue with. For me all I’ve written is grounded in that faith & finds expressions in broader places.
Second, just this week I had a discussion worth sharing. I sat down with a friend who holds a more conservative perspective, than do I, on faith & all that’s going on in the United Methodist Church. (That is tensions about sexuality, biblical authority, & the nature of our heritage.) I knew I needed to have the discussion but was a little uneasy at the start. But, we sat down to talk. An hour later, it turns out that we share more in common than we differ. We both value the authority of scripture, our sacred text. We both deeply desire to faithfully follow our God & share God’s love. Where we differ is in details. What we left sharing was common ground, mutual respect, & practical ideas of how we could support one another. I left feeling lighter, encouraged, connected...HOPEFUL!
Hope comes in connection, community, honesty, courage… all elements of my world view & faith. I hope (& pray) that you would have: the courage to connect even when it’s hard; the grace to forgive when the connection isn’t reciprocated; the honest wisdom to know that you are not in charge of the world or of fixing others (I’m not either!); & the gift of a loving community that both heals the wounds of the journey, & celebrates the hope that is ours.
Go prepare for a conversation with reflection. Go engage with honesty. Go listen to others with deep attention & patience. Go claiming hope. You’re not alone!
Prayer- Hope of the World surround us with a higher purpose that draws together, makes whole, includes, & restores. Forgive us when we feign so great a confidence that we diminish our neighbor. Teach us of the ways of love, kindness, learning, & faith that build up Hope in each of us. Finally, may we rejoice in that possibility as we care for one another, grow stronger together, & seek a deep & lasting peace. May It Be So.