word up: hope vs optimism

WORD UP: Hope vs. Optimism

I attended church service today… I hadn’t been all year due to my rehearsal schedule and I was happy to be part of the celebration.

I say “celebration” in response to people who confided in me that those who go to church are basically mindless sheep in need of validation and structure through conformity. A. stated that he believed people use and feel that they need church in order to feel connected to God.

I told A. that I saw his definition of church as very limiting because everyone I know at church knows for a fact that they can easily be connected to God at any given moment and given space of their choice. Access is not made available through church rather church is a place to celebrate everyone’s access (relationship) with God.

Since when is it considered “mindless” to ponder one’s existence, the meaning and gift of life and celebrate with people who have chosen to embark on similar journeys? And isn’t it a good thing to consider one’s relationship with self, soul and God over chasing validation in looking cool, trendy, perfect and having the right toys?

For a couple of hours on a Sunday, I can choose to sit with a diverse crowd: teens and grannies side by side with someone with tattoos and piercings… surfers, geeks and trendies singing together and making the walls reverberate with song… black, brown, white, yellow gather without pretense only shared happiness… in this place I can choose to celebrate a couple of hours or go to the mall….. where every store or boutique is a box selling conformity in the name of style..

Church is the most anti-conformist place I know, a place where I have expressed my opinions and views freely… and never felt like people judged looks or age…

I find it most interesting that the ones with the most rigid opinion of what church is are the ones most to insist that they know everything and therefore needn’t investigate the possibility that something other than their opinion may exist. Isn’t expanding one’s world through actual learning and experience immensely valuable? Is it being opened minded when you say that you know everything you need to know? How does one regard the opinion of a house if only the driveway and garage has been checked out?

MAYBE I’ve been looking at a different direction in church and perhaps missed the sheep sitting 10 feet away from me. I welcome being pointed out where the conformists-without-original-thoughts sit who are desperate and disconnected to life.

Where are all these “dead” people that I hear of by those who refuse to attend church who swear that they exist?

What kind of mythological thinking is that????

Anyway… I have a couple of things to share today.

Hope, specifically, “holy hope” was the topic today – distinct from optimism. We opened with a quote from Romans Chapter FIVE:

“…. we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”

Perhaps I can best describe optimism as a mindset and “holy hope” as a way of life that bends with the twists and turns of life… Optimism smiles and expects the best of all outcomes and holy hope smiles at the current moment and says that life is already exactly where it’s supposed to be and where it is going will be perfect as well.

The sermon inspired a lot of thoughts for me to ponder…

Am I an optimist that lives life with a happy disposition expecting the best outcomes will arrive?

Or do I live from a place of holy hope where everything is beautiful and awe-inspiring already and yet the best is to come? What is my outlook on my current situations? Or is my focus on the future outcomes?

There are slight shades distinguished between the two…

Just some thoughts from a girl who enjoyed going to church today…

JNET

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~ by jnetsworld on December 11, 2005.

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