Choosing Hope

June 15, 2006

SunriseWell, I had my rant this morning, then I went on my morning walk, and I'm feeling much better now.  🙂

As I've been writing about for some time now, I'm in the process of moving to Austin for seminary.  One of the things I'm focused on right now is buying a house.  One of the things I have to do to buy a house is to get financing.

I'm a CPA, so financing doesn't scare me.  I also work in the real estate industry providing services to lenders for mortgage services, so this area is one that I'm pretty familiar with.  I went about researcing lenders, found one on the internet that gave me a really good rate, and figure I was good to go.

Now several people in my life got a little worried about this.  Whether they have had bad experiences with some lesser-known lenders, or whatever- I kept getting pushed into some different lenders (maybe "strong advice" would be a better choice of words).  I called some of the recommeded mortgage brokers, and then went with my original choice last week.  Then, this morning, one of the other lenders called me back.  I told him the rate I was getting to see if he could beat it.  He couldn't, and began to tell me horror stories of "customers he had with internet lenders who found out at the last minute that they weren't getting the loan they thought they were" and that the rates were really different than what was presented.  Anyway – that's the contex in which I started my walk this morning.  That and my rant from this morning about needing those who believe that slavery is a proper moral choice to move on.

So I started walking.  And I had a series of mini-epiphanies.  The first thing I realized was that I was starting to wonder whether or not I made the right decision about the loan.  Should I go to one of the bigger lenders?  And then it dawned on me– I was doing exactly what that man who called me wanted me to do.  He was threatening me with fear and it was working.  I don't have to choose fear.  I can choose hope.  I do not have to live my life worrying about what might happen.  I can live my life in wonder of the amazing things that might happen.

And so that train of thought continued.  I choose hope.  Why am I writing and focusing on what I have been focused on?  What am I doing on these blogs?

I realized quickly that my focus has been on the wrong audience.  Somehow I have been focused on the conservative audience.  They are a part of the body, and they need a shepard.  But it ain't me.  Maybe it will be some day, because I have been able to relate pretty well with many of them, I think– better then some others, worse than others yet.  But I can't let it be my focus.  Because that focus is on fear.  Fear of what will happen if the rules aren't followed.  Fear of what will happen if the rules change.  Fear of God being bigger than we are able to control or imagine.

My focus, and the focus of my ministry, will be on HOPE.  Hope that God is love.  Hope that God loves us ALL more than we can imagine, sometimes more than we would like.  Hope that God's love transcends all of our problems.  Hope that the God of love can always find a way to see through the problems that we make for ourselves when we draw up our own borders, our own protections, our own viewpoints.  Hope that we are on a journey with God, and that God is there- encouraging us to take each step.  Hope that when we step off the trail laid before us, that God is patiently waiting beside us for us to figure it out and get back on the trail again.  Hope that while we may never know what is around the next corner, the beauty of the journey is in finding out, and then discovering that there is yet another corner, and another one, and another one.  That the God of infinity is so deep we can never penetrate to the core of the boundless love that is God.  There is always more.  There is always enough.  There is always room for us.  There is always hope.  There is always a way forward.  There is always God.  Even when we cannot find him due to our own blindness, God is there.

In the dead of night, just before night, the blackness of night seems insurmountable.  But we trust that waiting just a little bit longer will yield the beauty, the power, of a majestic sunrise.  The power of creation.  It is the wonder of love put forth into this world that has been entrusted to us.  It is our responsibility to our Creator to live in service.  To live in love.  To live in trust. To live in community.  To live in relationship.

We must heed that call.  We must not lay down our hope at the gates of the church.  We must take up hope as our shield against the forces of fear.  We must journey forward knowing that while we do not know whether we in particular are called to win the fight for inclusion, we are called to push forward for it.  We always know and trust that God, in the biggest sense possible, guides the arc of history to lean towards justice.  We are the hands of God pushing it, bending it, stretching it in the direction of God's grace and love.

May God's grace and strength be with us all.  We are one bread, one body, one church.  Let us go forth into the world, sharing our witness, telling the world what we have to offer, no longer accepting a seat in the back of the church, but also with the understanding that the arc of history cannot be bent all at once.  We must do it slowly, carefully, so as not to break the body in the process.  We must do it with love and care.  Some limbs of the body may already be severed- I don't claim to know.  But to all the limbs that have even a chance of flourishing we must work fully, work hard, work justly, work patiently, to spread our witness and ensure that our voices- the voices of our witness- are heard.

We must choose hope in the face of whatever lies ahead.  To despair, to fear, to flinch in the face of oppression is to deny the grace of God given for us on the Cross.  We shall overcome.  We shall overcome.

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