Its amazing. All we want is for things to “get back to normal”. As we are reeling from the impact of one tragedy, it seems to just hit us again with multiplied vengeance. Has the world always been this broken? Am I just not waking up to the realities which have been so neatly tucked away from my sight all my life? It seems to all be going to hell before our very eyes.
Perhaps the paragraph above expresses my naivety. Of course, the hurts of today do not come out of nowhere. They are emerging in their full bitter flavor after generations of poisonous marination. They are surfacing in rapid succession, and it is overwhelming. Like a person who has just been told they have 6 months to live we as a culture want to recoil into denial, repeating confidently, “What? How can this be? But I have felt totally fine up until now!”
We want to respond. We want to Tweet and Instagram our support of justice and equality. We want to push our politicians to jump in and save the day. We dive into the whirlwind of the fight in search of redemption, not realizing that we have been here before.
Lets say it again. We have been here before.
Instead of leaping into another political manifesto I have caught myself this morning reflecting on the deeper issue. Where do we turn for hope in a broken and hurting culture? The dominant answers that seem to fill the news feeds around me seem to be politics, education, science. Our tendency is to run into ourselves. To dig deeper within to find the healing realities of the goodness, truth and beauty that we so long to see restored in the world around us.
But are we not treating cancer with Tylenol? It seems like the hurt, pain and anger run far deeper than the prescribed course of treatment. It seems that the fundamental presuppositions that we stand on are utterly insufficient.
What then is the basis of our hope? This, I think, is the deeper question. At this moment I am reminded of the piercing words of Mad Max, “Hope is a mistake. If you can’t fix what is broken, you will go insane.” To be honest these words dropped like stones into my consciousness when I first heard them. They ring in my mind as I read the headlines.
He is right. And yet on the other side we are walled in my another inescapable reality: left without hope we are already insane.
There must be a hope that comes from something far beyond this present cultural turmoil. It must arise from something greater and far more real. Not a blind and irrational leap of faith. Not a rationalistic equation. Our hope must both empower our reason and while simultaneously shedding light on our limitations.
Have I gone off the deep end? I don’t think so. It is far more absurd for us to keep going round and round thinking the millionth lap will finally make a difference. If we are not pushed to reexamine the basis of our hope we will join Mad Max and his world sooner than we think.