No corner of our heart

‘Hope is a gift of God. We must ask for it. It is placed deep within each human heart in order to shed light on this life, so often troubled and clouded by so many situations that bring sadness and pain. We need to nourish the roots of our hope so that they can bear fruit; primarily, the certainty of God’s closeness and compassion, despite whatever evil we have done. There is no corner of our heart that cannot be touched by God’s love. Whenever someone makes a mistake, the Father’s mercy is all the more present, awakening repentance, forgiveness, reconciliation and peace.’

-Pope Francis

[Taken from Happiness In This Life: A Passionate Meditation On Material Existence And The Meaning Of Life]

None of it is yours to keep

Have you noticed how for any TV or film series, the people who will most hate some part of it are almost always among the biggest fans of the series? It’s the people who have watched Doctor Who for years that will be most negative about the new Doctor, it’s the people who grew up on the Original Trilogy that will hate the prequels, and it’s the people who most love the 80s originals that most detest the unnecessary remakes. Why?

Because after a while, we begin to feel that something is owed to us. We know and like the previous Doctor. We knew what he was like and we loved him. We set up expectations, and then demands upon the future. The series must conform to my will. That’s not to say we want it predictable… just, unpredictable in the usual ways…

This sense of ownership, that the producers owe us, ruins the whole thing. Our expectations set us up for disappointments, and our imaginary debts set us up for outrage. And have you observed, how the angry superfans hold out a long time, before they let it go and get on with their lives? The torment can go on for years.

But the truth is, the world doesn’t owe us anything. It’s all a gift. If it’s not what we thought we wanted, it may be better, and if not, there is no injustice in that.

We want control over our lives, because we’re afraid. We’re afraid that the world will turn on us. Our experiences confirm, that all things are subject to decay and death, and so all will abandon us. So, we imagine that the things we are given are somehow under our power, that they are meant to meet our expectations, that they are subject to our demands. But this delusion doesn’t liberate us; rather, it only causes us to suffer.

So we ditch the delusion; but what do we do about decay and death and the world abandoning us? We accept this fear, but we meet it with hope. Hope that the next Doctor will be even better. Hope that the next episode will be good. Hope that those who truly live in the face of death will rise again, overcoming the futility of life.

Hope is not expectations, or demands, or imaginary debts, or mindless optimism. It is entrusting your future to God’s generous love.

In the face of a dying world, we look to Jesus, who says he is, “the Resurrection and the Life”, and we follow him to the cross. We cannot hold on to anything in this world; we do not truly possess even our own lives; we must relinquish our illusory and oppressive control, and live in constant gratitude, love, freedom and hope.

God bless you

Thoughts on cynicism, hope and freedom in anarchism and Christianity

Many people (at least where I’m from) have a strong belief in humanity’s bad side. I share this belief, but I think our response to it is more important.
I doubt I know a single person who believes that the government is good. ‘Power corrupts’ is almost universally accepted. Yet, very few have any hope to save it. Evil is accepted. Only the anarchists have faith in defeating this evil. They accept the cynicism to power, and meet it with a hope of a better world.
Likewise, practically everyone agrees humans have evil in them. Call it what you will, mistakes, a bad side, foolishness, selfishness; we know it’s there and bad. Most accept it, and live on, believing it cannot be changed. Christians have faith in the defeat of this evil. Christians accept the cynics belief in humanity’s evil, and meet it with the hope of God’s complete redemption.

Having, then, such hope, we use much freedom of speech,
2Corinthians 3:12

Hope is a crucial part, to being free in the conditions of bondage. Our enemies surround us, but we fight on, because we have hope in better things to come.

The strange thing is, we can easily show people that they are in bondage, but most do not want to be free. Their bodies have moulded themselves into their chains, and to be without them is uncomfortable or even painful. How do you persuade a person to desire freedom (from human oppression and slavery to sin)?
I say, we must live out freedom as much as we can. If it is as desirable as we say it is, they will see it in us, and pursue it relentlessly.

God bless you.