According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – anon
Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – anon
Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson
We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord
Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Cycle of Hope in Life & Death

Take heart… there is Hope!

by Peter Rollins
posted 6/5/11

I remember, when I was young, reading a short story by the great Philip K. Dick about a man who discovers that insects are highly evolved beings intent on destroying humanity. If I remember correctly the insects communicate to one another through a form of ESP that the man is suddenly able to pick up.

He gains this unusual skill purely by accident late one evening while sitting in his house. The insects that he overhears quickly realise this and immediately send out a message to millions of other insects, telling them that the man must die.

Within a matter of seconds a mass of insects start appearing from everywhere. They ooze out of cracks in the wall, they slide through the slit beneath the door, and they flood from the gaps between the floorboards.

But just as it would seem that everything is lost dozens of spiders drop down from the ceiling and form a circle around the terrified man. One of these spiders addresses him saying, “You have discovered that the insects of the world are here to destroy humanity, but don’t worry we spiders have been placed here to protect you”.

The vast sea of insects edge ever closer as the spiders close ranks around the distraught man.

“Is there any hope?” he cries as the insects circle around him in their millions.

“It’s difficult to say,” replies one of the spiders, “there are so many of them. But we think there might be hope, so be courageous”

Soon the insects reach the circle of spiders and begin the overrun them.

Again the man pleads to the spiders, asking if there is any hope and again they reply with a cautious “yes”.

More minutes pass and soon the insects are crawling all over the man, millions of them. They begin to overrun his body and sliver into his various orifices.

“What’s happening” chokes the man to one of the few remaining spiders, “I thought you said there was hope”

“There is,” replies the spiders, “I promise that there is.”

“But I am dying” he shouts with his last breath, “they are killing me.”

“Oh” replied the spider, before succumbing to the flood of insects, “I’m sorry, but we never meant that there was hope you. We mean that there might just be hope for your species.”

As I reflect upon this story I am reminded of how much I want there to be hope for me… for my circle of friends… for my life. But perhaps this very narrow understanding of hope is not only misguided, but actually oppressive.

For there is a necessary shadow side to the belief that there is hope for me as I face my own demise and it is the sense that there really is no hope at all. These are not two separate realities but rather intimately tied to one another as heat is to light. Both of these feelings are centred upon me and focus upon my tightly bounded circle of reality.

But there can be a profound sense of peace as we expand the concept of hope beyond ourselves and the idea of our own longevity. Whether or not we will persist as an individual is not settled one way or the other when we expand our understanding of hope but rather becomes irrelevant (whether one believes in it or not). Rather we find a certain comfort in seeing ourselves as part of something much bigger, as participating in the ongoing manifestation of life herself. And that, whether or not there is any hope for us, there might just be hope for life, hope that she will eternally spring forth from the dark void of nothingness.

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