Sarah Palin’s recent derision of “that hope-y change-y thing” may be a slam-dunk politically. But in religious terms, coming from the devout Christian she claims to be, it is a puzzling disavowal. After all, next to “Love,” “Hope” and “Change” are what the Christian message – truly most any faith message – is all about.
In a recent report from the [TED] conference presentation, “[Can we spread Hope while others spread Fear]?”, Mariane Pearl, the courageous, grace-filled writer and widow of the slain journalist Daniel Pearl, writes:
“What would spreading hope do? . . .[M]aybe, it would simply allow us to see a future. And we would actually want to protect the world and be happier and see why it is in our best interest to help others feel the same. Fear breeds on ignorance so what the world needs now is what it has always needed and always will: education. Knowledge and wisdom that feeds the human spirit and helps us value life itself as the core of all values. We need hope, we need courage and we need each other. We don't need more greed. And I am just not sure about more technology.”
See? Education begets Hope begets Change. Or, as [Jacqueline Novogratz], author of *The Blue Sweater, *writes, “We can choose to feel overwhelmed with sadness, or we can choose to be inspired by possibility.”
I don’t know about you, but I needed these mini-sermons. The fact that they come from women who are actively engaged in a virtually counter-cultural love of their fellow man (and woman) despite the sorrows they have seen and known, the fears they have faced down, gives me hope that more of us might crawl out from under the barricades we have built to protect ourselves from all that we’re afraid of – the fragile economy, the wounds of war, the whoring in Washington that has paralyzed health care reform and may protect Toyota from the consequences of creating Killer Cars, the failure of the CIA, TSA, FBI and Homeland Security to keep terrorists off our planes, the constant appeals to our lesser selves – and take us into a courageous battle for meaningful change.
What can we do? What can *I* do?” This is the question I am choosing to address during this year’s season of Lent, that 40 days of ersatz “wandering in the wilderness,” of sacrifice (No chocolate as a child, no wine this time around), penitence, and reconciliation, of purifying preparation for Christians’ ultimate Feast of Hope, the celebration of Easter. According to one my favorite priests, Lent is an ecclesiastical afterthought. It’s not Biblical; it wasn’t part of the original Christian practices. It was designed to bring Christians who had gotten just a little bit too comfortable in the Good Life back to the Good News, to the message of radical Love, Hope for the social justice Jesus preached, and the Change needed in each of us to effect it.
It strikes me that we need Hope more than ever today, and that the Change required of us may be relatively monumental. Not legislative necessarily, nor political, not even cultural yet, (frankly, I still find all these possibilities depressively overwhelming) but simply personal, one person, and then one relationship at a time, one conversation that does not gloss over your true feelings – neither your deepest fears nor your highest hopes – one vote with your feet, or your wallet or in the ballot box.
Beyond this, I am still not sure what to do. But in every moment I might have savored with my wine these next five weeks, I will instead be thinking about drinking in the elixir of hope and change my faith is intended to be.
Why now? Because this is where I am now, where the privilege of reading, learning, knowing, and experiencing more has taken me. Because I know merely giving up chocolate – or wine – no matter how piously or perfectly, just isn’t going to cut it this time around. My soul, I think, is demanding more. And the world may be, too.
Where do you find Hope in today’s world? What inspires you to Change? What role does Faith play in your daily life? Please Comment below.
: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mariane-pearl/can-we-spread-hope-while b 463890.html
: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jacquiline-novogratz/how-one-blue-sweater-star b 463051.html
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