Wednesday, July 01, 2020

The Mark of Christian Hope

The Christian vision for the world has never been a nostalgic vision. It remembers history as God's work of liberating creation from slavery to sin and death. Thus, it is not about preserving some old order for society or getting back to our former "Judeo-Christian values." It is and always has been about being open to the novum ultimum of the coming of God, the banquet feast of the resurrection, wherein God will be all-in-all. It sees the evils of the present world, scoffs at the so-called achievements of a society that was built on the backs of slaves, and it looks to a new society, a new world, a new heaven and a new earth.

But while this vision for the world mustn't be nostalgic, it also cannot be mistaken for "development" or "progress." The story of God is not a story of the world getting a little better all the time, slowly waking up from a slumber. It's the story of a dead world being brought to life--a world without hope being rescued by the God of hope. So while we cannot resign ourselves to preserving some romantic past, we must also guard against the seduction of a "progressivism" that fetishizes potentiality and worships the "new" and the "next." The demand of constantly 'becoming' instrumentalizes and comodifies our very 'being.' Desperately scraping for the future will leave us anxious and empty, unable to delight in what is because we're too obsessed with the wish-dream of what might be.

This is why, as Moltmann put it, "patience is the greatest art of those who hope." Waiting on the coming of God--actively waiting so as to share the place of God in the world with those who hunger and thirst for justice--without anxiously clamoring for the future, and without nostalgically romanticizing the past, is the mark of Christian hope and activism.

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