on optimism…

Over the last few years I’ve come to realise that I am by nature an optimist. I want to see the best in people and situations. I generally choose to believe that the world is not a bad place. I long to hear stories of hope, not of despair.

Thinking theologically, I believe that God created us, and that he was pleased with that creation. We’ve since managed to screw it up massively. I’ve wrestled with the doctrine of original sin, worried about it’s tendency to create a “flesh bad, spirit good” approach to the world – but accept what the doctrine is trying to explain.

I guess I believe in the gospel message of hope, of transformation even for the very ‘vilest offender’ (to quote the song) and that God is at work to recreate his original, beautiful work of art.

And so, sometimes I really struggle with the gleeful Christian response to anything bad happening in the world, the rubbing of hands that seems to say ‘that’s the least you Godless deserve’. I think God’s heart is broken every time that something crap happens and any life is lost. Especially so if that life hasn’t been given to Jesus.

And as much as I long for the day that Jesus does return, I don’t at the expense of our participation in his mission for the bringing of light to the darkest places. Rather than hoping for everything to be washed away I really believe God calls us to roll up our sleeves and get busy.

This isn’t about ‘works’ being more important than ‘faith’, but about believing that God is working in our time to make all things good once again. And when he does come back I don’t know if he’ll be impressed at how the “holy” have pointed out how bad everyone else is and done the judging in advance.

Maybe, just maybe instead he’ll be more interested in whether we truly believed and acted on the message that we spent so long talking, reading and debating about (which isn’t to say we shouldn’t do this stuff…just that it’s got to lead to some kind of pracical difference).

So, I’m an optimist. Wecan be part of changing this world – as long as we’re chasing after the Holy Spirit, going where the Missio Dei leads us.

Oh yes! Ranteth overeth!


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