Sunday, April 22, 2007

Can Christians be pessimists?

I think that our church is full of people who are pessimists. They don’t think that there’s any hope for the world.

I lived my formative years growing up around people who feared the evil around them, and forgot that God is stronger. They lived their lives in fear that somehow if they came in contact with the “ways of the world” that somehow either they would become tainted or they would set themselves up for some sort of moral failure.

I guess my questions is “Can Christians be pessimists?” Can we not have hope in the work that God is doing in the world? I believe that the power of Jesus resurrection has empowered those sent out to spread his message. Isn’t that the story in the early church?

Christians in the Roman Empire were social outcasts. They couldn’t buy or sell. Large percentages were slaves and women (both who had few rights). They were heavily persecuted and killed. And yet somehow the Gospel of Jesus (the Good News of Jesus) continued to spread. It spread until it Rome became Christian.

They earliest Christians preached that Jesus had come to restore creation. That through His work death had been defeated and the restoration was possible. Not only was it possible but it was happening! It’s actually how they organized themselves. They were bring resurrection to their world through how they lived their lives. This is how they lived and look what happened.

We are living in an ever-increasing post-Christian society. Europe, Australia, and America can no longer be seen as Christian nations. The average Christian today is a woman from Africa or South America; nations with no wealth or social stature.

So can Christians be pessimistic? Can we believe that in all honesty that we’re in a big mess and the world is beyond saving? Should we just kiss the post-Christian community good bye and say there’s no hope in the Gospel (the good news) every changing our own culture?

Maybe, just maybe if you say there isn’t any hope for the post-Christian western community, if you believe that Jesus’ work didn’t do enough…maybe your view of what happened on Easter morning some 2000 years ago isn’t big enough.

4 comments:

MattJP said...

Thanks Dan. I need people like you and Blake to tell me things like this. You are of course right, I guess maybe I should see my pessimism as a sin I need to overcome.

tfounds said...

Thanks for the thoughts man. I think one of my biggest frustrations with people in the Church is the problem of not thinking big enough... or not dreaming big.

Thankfully though, I feel the people at my church are (for the most part) fairly optimistic and are involved in bringing resurrection to creation. Of course, I feel like we could be doing other things... dreaming bigger and such. Maybe with time.

I don't know if anything I said applies at all to your post, but that's what it made me think. Anyway, hope things are well with you.

Steph said...

I've gotten to the point where I feel like Charles Dickens said "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."

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