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The Forum > Article Comments > The sustaining of hope in dark times > Comments

The sustaining of hope in dark times : Comments

By Dorothy McRae-McMahon, published 17/5/2007

Hope is often hard-won. Its cost is sometimes life itself.

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As an oldie going on 86 and just lost his wife, what interests me most in your Thesis, Dorothy, is that you are ecumenical, and which is a belief that this troubled world needs so much - the endeavour not to force the American or Australian Way on less fortunate peoples but simply to show genuine peaceful understanding.

As a Bushie as I enjoy being known as, had been fortunate to have been able to retire early with my wife, handing over a moderate farming business to my son and so on down to his sons who are expanding and running the business, with me still as a director and on a sort of a farm pension.

As one believing in the necessity to learn the philosophy of life as well as the more practical need to survive have reached the stage that hope for me is not so much for myself but for our leaders not to be superior or elitist, but to attempt to cultivate true wisdom and understanding.

Another OLO section is at present heating up over whether the Humanities in our universities, should be stripped down in favour of the more practical aspects of human existence rather than the other as we are now engaged in.

I must say, Dorothy, that in my retirement, I have been fortunate enough, besides being an easy-going Christian to have been accepted into a university, finishing with Honours after a study in Sri-Lanka on Third World problems, including on the politics and associated religions existing in Sri-Lanka.

Also for 12 years, before my wife died, was taking groups in the Mandurah U3A discussing the philosophies of history beginning from the Greek Golden Age to what we are on about now.

To conclude, us rather roughneck Anglicans in our little wheatbelt town of Buntine north of Dalwallinu, did form and ecumenial Christian group including Congregational, Methodist, and us Anglicans, many of us also Freemasons. Also nearly got the local Roman Catholics in, but the Popish High Command had different ideas.

Cheers - George C - WA
Posted by bushbred, Thursday, 17 May 2007 12:21:03 PM
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What an inspiring statement. I try to live that way too but do not always succeed. Faith in God - some of us have it and it strengthens us immeasurably when we do. A sense of common humanity and the preciousness of every human life - we must all strive to keep that alive, whether of a religious cast of mind or not. It is so important to keep hope in one's fellow man and woman genuinely alive in one, and not to give way to selfishness, cynicism and despair.
Posted by tonykevin 1, Thursday, 17 May 2007 12:42:54 PM
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The Author said:

"I would also suggest that genuine hope is automatically diminished when we define ourselves as good and others as evil. We enter the most dangerous territory of all, in fundamentalism."

I'm deeply troubled by this statement. In fact, I'd describe it as very dangerous.

"Genuine hope" can only ever exist when we have a true understanding of reality. This.... is Taliban reality.

Hope 2b valid... must have a foundation. If we have hope in the tooth fairy we will be dissappointed. If we have hope based in Christ, we will not.

Romans 5:1
we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

Is this 'fundamentalism' ? I suppose so, but what kind? All I'm saying is that based on the life, teaching, death and resurrection of our Lord, we can actually have a living hope.

No one is going to force people to embrace Christ. Its impossible.
Faith in Him is from the heart.

The central idea of the Christian faith is that you CANNOT attain peace with God through 'law'. So a 'Christian' state is out of the question.

Brushy, you mentioned 'ecumenicalism'. To me its not even an issue. I have glorious fellowship with Baptists, Anglicans, Methodists, and even Catholics. But the last thing I'll try to do is join them all together into some super 'church'...its just not needed. We HAVE the unity in Christ, in our hearts. Outward conformance to once groups version of it, if enforced, will alienate and destroy that unity of the spirit.
It doesn't bother me if the Anglicans have 7fold or a 70fold Amen, I can join in it happily.
Posted by BOAZ_David, Thursday, 17 May 2007 1:20:08 PM
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Thanks for an inspiring article Dorothy. Although alienated from the dominant, mainstream church organizations because of their hypocrisy, greed and indifference towards the often un-necessary suffering of countless millions of their fellow human beings - not to mention other sentient species - I am nonetheless inspired by articles such as yours and the writings and actions of members of the Quakers and Unitarians.

Thus am I enabled to assist and encourage those with whom I engage in voluntary community work - the unpaid family caregivers ('Carers') of the several hundreds of thousands of Australian citizens afflicted with severe and profound disability, and who remain shamefully neglected by our well-rewarded Cabinet Ministers, senior public servants, ... er, sorry, Public MANAGERS!, and obscenely over-rewarded 'executive' employees of the huge national and trans-national corporations that today dominate our communities.
Posted by Sowat, Thursday, 17 May 2007 1:27:14 PM
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Dear Sowat... there was a strong element of 'self righteousness' in your post, coupled with a condemnation of the various people and churches, I don't know why you made it so broad and all encompassing.

Are you blind to the fact that the leaders of the anti slavery movement were evangelical Christians ? Have you heard of the 'Leprosy Mission'? why not google it. Mother Theresa ? countless others totally contradict your sweeping condemnation of Churches.

You would be quite right to be more specific, and single out individual organizations and I can mention one right now WORLD VISION. Paying its CEO (Tim Costello) $200,000 and then Tim has the temerity to call us all to 'end poverty' with our generous giving.....
but hey.. at least he cut down on 'business class travel' and now there are no free carpark spaces or something.

Please recall.. JESUS condemned all manner of corruption and religious greed and shallow glory or status seeking. So, try not to use the hypocrites as a shield from you yourself drawing close to God in Christ. As they say ..the only thing worse than a hypocrite is someone who hides behind one.
Hope this is not too 'fundamental' for u :)
a sinner saved by undeserved Grace.
Posted by BOAZ_David, Thursday, 17 May 2007 1:46:23 PM
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Speaking as as an agnostic, this is one of the few christian article which I wholeheartedly identify with and hope will bring understanding to more aggressive, less forgiving, and dare I say it, tolerant christians.

I may not be christian, but this feels more like the peaceful, humble rhetoric of christ that the faith is built upon, before many years of institutionalised religion diverted it.

And no Boaz. There's nothing dangerous about it at all - in fact, for all the posts of yours I've disagreed with, the ones on this thread were the first that repelled me.

To disagree with other faiths, yes, but to attack another Christian view on the basis that it refuses to judge others while holding one's self in higher esteem? That truly offends.

On that path lies unavoidable bloodshed, and no hope or even attempt at peaceful reconciliation at all.
That is the path of the warmonger, and is the path of the Taliban whom you so despise.
That is not love, but merely masquerading as such, while stooping to the evils you claim, and I dare say honestly believe, you oppose. It is the rhetoric of the invader who demands the subjugated recant; it is the attitude that has damned past generations to warfare.

It is also lacking in hope, on the basis of what you perceive as reality. It's a shame you can't deny that reality, when faith commands you deny so many others.
Posted by TurnRightThenLeft, Thursday, 17 May 2007 2:20:29 PM
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