Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Hope vs Vapid Optimism

The Easter hope we have, brothers and sisters, the hope that never disappoints has nothing to do with optimism or the avoidance of suffering,  is a hope that can only come from a God who has experienced birth, and love and friendship and lepers and prostitutes and betrayal and suffering and death and burial and a decent into hell itself. Only a God who has born suffering himself can bring us any real hope of resurrection. And if ever given the choice of optimism or resurrection I’d go with resurrection any day of the week.  This is the God of whom Paul speaks.  And the Christian faith is one that does not pretend things aren’t bad. This is a faith that does not offer platitudes to those who lost children this week to suicide or a tornado. This is not a faith that produces optimism it is a faith that produces a defiant hope that God is still writing the story and that despite darkness a light shines and that God can redeem our crap and that beauty matters and that despite every disappointing thing we have ever done or that we have ever endured, that there is no hell from which resurrection is impossible. The Christian faith is one that kicks at the darkness until it bleeds daylight.
Nadia Bolz Weber"Sermon on Why Hope and Vapid Optimism Are Not The Same Thing" from Sarcastic Lutheran

It's worth including this other paragraph from the same sermon: 

I’ve said it before but Whenever I am in a real mess of pain, when a relationship has ended or I am in some kind of emotional suffering, and some well meaning Christian says “Well, when God closes a door, he opens a Window” I start immediately looking around for that open window so I can push them out of it. Which is to say, I don’t find ignoring the difficult reality of our lives in favor of some kind of blindly cheerful optimism to be hopeful I find it to be delusional.

And one other note: a friend of mine, who used to be a superb percussionist before he became chronically ill, loved you use the word 'vapid' about those awful Christian choruses that are bright and shiny and say nothing...
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