Did you see Barack Obama’s infomercial last night?  What did you think?  Was it on the level of selling the perfect set of ginsu knives promising the impossible?  Or did it provide you with some hope. Some sense that things could be different.  

Maybe cynicism has creeped in for some of you.  Thoughts of why try… why when we know that politics is a mire of muddy pigs dressed up in fancy suits. To be honest, I don’t know if the next president, whoever it may be, can bring true reform and change.  But one thing that Obama’s hopefulmercial gave me back again was a sense of hope in relation to the Church. 

Hope, is the possibility of seeing what God sees and having God’s thoughts, feelings and actions infiltrate into the core of my being.  

The question is, do I have hope that things can be different?  Can there be communities who reflect the image and character of God?  Will there be people who stand for radical love, inclusive hospitality and social reconciliation.  

Has middle classness, individual consumerism, safety and security so inoculated the christian church that we have become blind to the calling and dream of God in this world.  Maybe.  My resposnse out of fear is… why even try.  “Give in to the dark side, Luke”.  Just stay on automatic pilot in my individual world where safety and security are the throne and scepter of my life.  

But then Barack Obama’s pirated the network airwaves to spread his message of “What if…”.  And this is the reason I feel that Obama will win.  There are enough Americans who are willing to let a relatively unexperienced person be president because we want some with enough resonance and vision to dream “What if”.  But i digress onto my political soapbox.

“What if…” there were a people who took the words of Jesus seriously and practiced with their lives…

-RADICAL HOSPITALITY

-INCLUSIVE LOVE

-PEACE AND LOOKING FOR GOD’S JUSTICE IN THIS WORLD OF INJUSTICE

-REDEEMING RECONCILIATION

-DOWNWARD MOBILITY

Hope says, God sees all of these things and today I want to see my world and my culture as He sees it.

Hope says, that God has called out a people to live out this radical and subversive life as a light to all the world of what God’s Life looks like in a world of flesh and blood, suffering and pain, failures and disappointments.

Hope speaks.  What is Hope saying to you today?

A week ago I set out on an Experiment in Hope. (view part 1) Here is what I found as the thread of hope in my days.

Is there anything better than losing your first tooth? The hope of getting older. The hope of something new coming in. I find it ironic that children lose teeth and adult don’t. Quite frankly I don’t think an adult could handle the fragility of looking different, having to change the way I would eat (how dare anyone tell me to change!). An adults self esteem and ego would be crushed. But a child celebrates it! And their hope is rewarded by the faithful and elusive tooth fairy.

I was sitting in Powell’s Books, (the largest used bookstore in Portland). There I saw a young artist. She had a sketch book and graphite pencils. I walked up to get a coffee and passed by her. She was drawing. What I do not know. But in that I saw hope. She wasn’t reading to gain knowledge, she was not involved in some deep theological and esoteric conversation, she was simply drawing. Cause she could. There was something coming out of her. I love artists. They inspire me. I feel artists are people who the DNA of hope. May their tribe increase among us!

I just need to say that I don’t like fishing. I think it is one of the hopeless activities in life. (Much of this feeling is likely due to my own lack of success.) This time of year on the Columbia River there is a chinook run of salmon. There are thousands of boats on the river, all lined up in neat rows. All with hope of catching that illusive salmon. To me this is hope shared. To know that they have hope somehow makes me feel more hopeful.

Almost every telephone pole in downtown Portland is covered like this. Advertisements, bands, garage sales, events and special occasions. All saying something, all wanting attention and specifically my attention. They are tattered, partially covered, faded pieces of paper. But these mini-internet telephone poles scream what hope is to me. Hope is always fading. The moment I cling to a moment of hope a little too tightly it slips away from me. My hope of yesterday is tattered and needs to be replaced with a new hope event.

And that is what I came away with about Hope. Hope is only good for this moment. When you see Hope breathe Him in deeply. And then exhale. Ready to take your next breath. For in the next breath of Hope, He will be all your breath can handle. In fact He may even take your breath away.