Hope is a Choice: Duane W.H. Arnold, PhD

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42 Responses

  1. Linn says:

    Duane,
    Thank you for this post. It makes me think of Rom. 5:1-5:

    Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith[b] into this grace in which we stand, and we[c] rejoice[d] in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

    There will always be something, real or imagined, to be afraid of-but God gives us hope through the Spirit. I am trying hard right now to focus on the positives…and Jesus will always win in the end, the greatest Hope of all.

  2. Duane Arnold says:

    Linn

    “…and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts…”

    It is unfortunate that words like “love” and ‘hope” carry less force these days than words of outrage. That has to change…

  3. filbertz says:

    fear is a more primal, base reaction to threat and danger (real or imagined) while hope is a product of much higher level thinking and perception. I’d prefer to assign these to the old, natural man (fear) and the new, spiritual man (faith producing hope). I think your commentary nicely echoes my Psalm for today–#71. Thanks for the nudge in a hopeful direction.

  4. Duane Arnold says:

    filbertz

    Great observation, many thanks!

  5. bob1 says:

    Good meditation, Duane.

    Due to reading Wright’s book on the future (Surprised by Hope), it’s totally upended my views on what awaits us in the future. As his title suggests, we have a very hopeful future to look forward to.

    Also on the topic of hope, I’ve benefited greatly by two books: Viktor Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning” and Lewis Smedes, “Keeping Hope Alive.” Both books are very easy to read and pack a strong punch, especially Frankl’s. I try and reread it every year.

  6. Duane Arnold says:

    bob1

    Many thanks, all good suggestions. Tim Keller’s new book is worthwhile as well…

  7. Jean says:

    Duane,

    Without hope, one must put all their eggs in this life. Then when one is confronted with a health issue, economic setback, the break up of an important human relationship, insult or other injury, the fear of death or depression or anger another negative emotion can become intense.

    Based on the level of anger and grievance among the citizenry, it’s probably worth asking if as a people we lack hope. It’s also possible that we’re drunk on hubris that we’re “called” to “save” our nation through anger and violence.

    There also is the segment of people who channel the lack of hope into chemical dependencies.

  8. Duane Arnold says:

    Jean

    As my friend said, hope is a choice. I think a real question in our current time is “Why do so many choose anger and fear over the alternative of hope?”. I guess it is easier to shout into the storm these days…

  9. Em says:

    are belief and hope [or fear] synonymous?

  10. Jean says:

    Em,

    Hope is born of faith, but I distinguish the two in that faith is a present thing, whereas hope is forward looking.

  11. Duane Arnold says:

    I think it is also a product of love… 1Cor. 13 says that love always hopes…

  12. CM says:

    It would be interesting to tie in this notion of hope (and all the evils that plague humanity) with the Greek myth of Pandora…

  13. Linn says:

    For Duane-why do so many turn to anger and fear over the alternative of hope?
    I think for most of us it’s easier. We say what we think, prove our ‘point”, and then proceed to vent on the next person. It’s easier because we receive constant media input that supports our position (whether or not it is true). We also need to be “right” (again, even if our information or position is incorrect and open to debate). We have plenty of models, whether on TV or social media, or spew out information and outrage to prove their point, and they are unfortunately some of our biggest media heroes. Having been shouted down several times this past year by family/friends who do not take my position, will not listen, and expect me to yell back has saddened me. But, I won’t yell. It’s not worth the damage to my vocal cords or my blood pressure. I will engage in an honest, vigorous discussion, but not a yelling match.

  14. BrideofChrist says:

    This is a great article.. the Bible tells us that God’s perfect love ” casts out fear”. Why are so many Republican conservatives so afraid? You have really identified the problem, Duane .Many far right conservatives want us to be afraid because THEY are the status quo and THEY are afraid because their absolute power on earth is being threatened .Change always threatens the staus quo. Yet the Bible tells us that in God’s Kingdom ” the first shall be last, and the last shall be first”. Talk about a disruption of the status quo! That’s an epic shake-up the Bible is talking about! Do we believe God is all powerful and in control, or are some Christians instead believing in their own fleshly might? God’s ways are not our ways. Shouldn’t prayer be enough?

  15. Everstudy says:

    I do find it interesting that even after a beautiful article written about hope, we have to spoil it with broad brushed political attacks.

    Dr. Arnold, great article today, I really appreciated it.

  16. bob1 says:

    I don’t think they’re political attacks. I see folks expressing their opinions, and with honesty. Hope isn’t a total abstraction — it’s affected by what’s going on around us.

    I also don’t think it’s very realistic to never mention things that we share in our common American culture.

    I think what’s more important is that we all refuse to act outraged/angry by a point of view that’s different from ours. ‘Cause there will be differences. What matters is how we respond.

    Sounds like you’re not outraged…

  17. Everstudy says:

    bob1, “I don’t think they’re political attacks.”

    The comment above mine said, “Why are so many Republican conservatives so afraid?” and “Many far right conservatives want us to be afraid…” That sure as heck looks and sounds political. The same thing could have read, “Why are so many people so afraid?” and “Many people want us to be afraid…” and the entire comment could have been agreed on. The insertion of ‘Republican conservatives’ and ‘far right conservatives’ made it by nature a political statement.

    I’m not outraged, just disappointed I guess.

    But like Dr. Arnold encouraged, I’ll chose to be hopeful.

  18. bob1 says:

    Like I said, I don’t think political discourse can be completely avoided. We each live in a particular situation (our country, this time in history, etc.) and I think there will be some of this. I think part of it is just trying to process everything.

    I’m glad you’re keeping up hope! That’s the point, anyway.

    Have a great night.

  19. BrideofChrist says:

    Everstudy, I guess my views have been colored by my experience attending a very conservative evangelical church that was very involved in politics and was 100% Republican. I was taught over the years to be frightened of public schools, pyschology, other Christian churches, television, Catholics, etc. The list actually seemed to grow every year, and each year the church became more and more political. Spreading fear wasn’t an accident at this church; it was very intentional. We were even told not to read any Christian books except the ones in the church bookstore ( Personally read and approved by the Pastor) Why do you think the congregation was taught to fear other Christian churches and Christian books? The only explanation is that Calvary Chapel ,(and Pastor Brian Broderson in this case) wanted to maintain the maximum amount of power and control over his congregation. Fear makes people easier to control and it is most definitely a tool to maintain the status quo. I spent enough of my life witnessing those fear tactics to ever not recognize them when I see them elsewhere. I chose hope over fear when Ieft that church five years ago. I voted 99% Republican until I saw Republicans undermining democracy. The Republican Party fears change and that is why they are trying so hard to keep people from voting .Voter suppression is the tactic of a losing political party .

  20. Jean says:

    BOC,

    “The Republican Party fears change and that is why they are trying so hard to keep people from voting . Voter suppression is the tactic of a losing political party .”

    I think their fear also stems from a dearth of ideas for moving our country forward. They have nothing to offer voters except tax cuts for the wealthy and deregulation. Thus, they fear the voter (except the wealthy and those they can convince with the tool of fear to vote against their own economic and health interests).

  21. Duane Arnold says:

    Everstudy

    Many thanks…

  22. Duane Arnold says:

    BOC/Jean

    I think all of us are tired of being told by others to be fearful. Such fears divide rather than unite; they engender suspicion rather than trust.

  23. CM says:

    Jean,

    I think the current GOP has even less ideas than that. Their main idea lately has been “We are NOT the other guys.” Especially most of the Congress-critters. Guys with ideas and Constitutionally sound proposals like Justin Amash have long since left or retired. The bottom line is that both TEAM BLUE and TEAM RED are run by a bunch of statists for FedGov. The only difference is what parts of FedGov they want to expand and what parts of the Constitution they want to shred (with quite a bit overlap in both those areas).

  24. JD says:

    Faith in God produces hope.
    Faith in Jesus Christ produces salvation.
    Faith in the church produces disenchantment.
    Faith in the government produces disillusionment.

  25. Michael says:

    JD,

    That about covers it.
    Our hope will be determined by what we focus on…

  26. Em says:

    hope and focus …. effect and cause …. 🙂

  27. Steve says:

    “I think their fear also stems from a dearth of ideas for moving our country forward. They have nothing to offer voters except tax cuts for the wealthy and deregulation. Thus, they fear the voter (except the wealthy and those they can convince with the tool of fear to vote against their own economic and health interests)”

    Now that is funny Jean. Thank you.

  28. Xenia says:

    ….God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.

    I Tim 3:15

  29. Duane Arnold says:

    When I wrote this piece, I was impressed with a business leader talking about “vocation”, “moral leadership”, “shared humanity”, “community building”, “trust” and “love”. If we, as the Church, want to approach the future with hope, we would do well, at least in my opinion, to consider some of those qualities…

  30. Em says:

    “moving this country forward?” we would do well to think about the direction/destination

  31. Jean says:

    “we would do well to think about the direction/destination”

    Here is the direction I am in favor of:

    Universal healthcare.
    World class educational opportunities for all Americans.
    Food security for all Americans.
    Clean air and water and the conservation of wildlife habitats.
    A modern economy with high paying jobs for all qualified workers.
    A justice system that works for everyone.

  32. BrideofChrist says:

    Jean, That sounds so wonderful. That isn’t the world I toiled in, and raised my babies in. Women in the eighties had no guaranteed family leave, much less paid family leave. I actually had to ” save up” to have a baby because I lost my teaching wages when I left my teaching job to give birth, heal a after C sections, and nurture my tiny newborns. The only reason I had any assurance that I would still have a job after taking off three months,was because as a public school teacher I had a signed contract for the duration of the school year with my California school district. No paid family leave. I actually went back to work after just six weeks – after a C section birth of my second child, because even after saving up as much money as we could, our family was running out of money and the mortgage still needed to be paid. I wanted to keep a roof over my babies’ heads. Then at age 55, after 35 years of teaching, I lost my job during the Great Recession. My husband, a new car dealership manager in San Diego for 35 years, also lost his job. We were both on unemployment, we couldn’t pay our mortgage and we lost all of our health insurance at the ages of 54 and 59 (the ages we needed it the most) Neither of us could find work, because in the U.S., A woman age 54_and a man aged 59 is subject to horrible age discrimination . No one would hire us, after 30 plus years of faithfully serving our communities. We moved three times in two years, downsizing and trying to stay afloat. Our children were sick with worry about us. I cashed in my retirement savings to pay for health insurance for us both on the private market (pre ACA years). I was paying $2,000 a month from my retirement savings to pay my husband’s and my health insurance. And I took a big tax hit when I took that painfully saved up retirement funds out before age 65. The nightmare we endured nearly destroyed our marriage, our lives, and our mental health. No one who worked as hard as we did serving our communities should have to endure what we did in our late middle age. We put two children through U.C. Universities with money we had saved, and when our youngest child was in her last year at UCLA, everything fell apart and we had no income, no health insurance, no house we could affird, and no job prospects. I never were unable to find work again. My husband could only find work with a terrible employer who forced him to work a 6O hour a week job with NO HEALTH INSURANCE. He held that horrible job for 6 years, until he finally could retire at age 65 and go on Medicare. Is this what you want for yourselves? This is the Republican’s idea of utopia on earth: where business owners and capitalists reign supreme, with no regulations, and hard working American citizens are exploited by those same companues. We were two responsible, hard working college graduates who worked hard all of our lives and did everything right, and we nearly were destroyed by the Great Recession. I hope my two children never have to endure the nightmare we endured for many long years . I vote Democrat for a better world for my children, for a kinder, gentler nation . ..a nation that doesn’t chew people up and then spit them out as they enter middle age, leaving them bereft of even simple basic health insurance.

  33. BrideofChrist says:

    I have disclosed a pretty dark account of life in America, even for upper middle class Americans like myself and my husband who did ‘everything right’. My story gets even darker. Two years before I was laid off from my teaching job in the California public school that I had taught in for the last14 years, I had a routine T.B. Test ( required by my state school district every five years) . Somehow during the previous
    five years I taught in this school I had become infected with tuberculosis from one or more my students. I was diagnosed with latent T.B. after two different tests . T.B. – in America, in a middle class suburban neighborhood school I was shocked, but should I have been? I worked in close contact with 75 or more students per day as a reading specialist and special education teacher. I visited students in fifth grade classrooms daily with 37 students packed into tiny portable classrooms ( trailers, really). It was so crowded I could barely move amongst the students, and the windows in those portable classes were very small and the ventilation was terrible. Two years later I was laid off, newly diagnosed with latent T B. and , because I had been laid off, I had no health insurance. Does this seem any way right or fair to you? This is what happened in America before the Democrats gave us the ACA. After 32 years of teaching in our public schools ( I was 21 when I earned my credential and started serving as a teacher in California). I had a job acquired potential latent serious illness and I now had no health insurance. This should NOT happen in the richest country on earth! Are you wondering why many teachers are reluctant to return to classrooms in the midst of this current Covid19 deadly pandemic? Teachers already feared contracting T.B. or HIV acquired immune deficiency from students. Children bleed and cough, and spit, and wipe their noses wherever they feel like, in cramped, overcrowded, poorly ventilated classrooms. And irresponsible parents send their sick kids to school because it’s too much trouble for many parents to change their plans and take care of their own sick children when they need to. So please don’t get so angry at your poor neighborhood teacher who doesn’t want to return to the classroom until he/she gets the Covid 19 vaccine. We don’t send soldiers into combat without protection, so please don’t expect teachers to do it! My son-in-law, serving in the Army, has been immunized with the Covid Vacine, by the way. Teachers deserve the same protection. And American citizens all deserve health insurance!. Workers deserve protection and health insurance – their entire lives, not just until employers arbitrarily decide to lay them off. Americans deserve to be treated humanely, as other nations treat their citizens. How are Republicans helping ordinary American citizens? Where is their health plan? They tried as hard as they could to kill the ACA, without ever once coming up with even the vaguest idea of how to replace it. Which party has YOUR best interests and your children’s welfare in mind ?

  34. Jean says:

    Thank you for your testimony BOC. I agree entirely with you that what you endured should never happen to anyone in the richest country on earth.

    I would add, platitudes about free markets, on the one hand, and just opposing government, on the other, don’t feed, shelter, clothe, educate or heal a family or individual.

  35. Dread says:

    Jean tell us the mechanism and provider of your dream.

  36. filbertz says:

    oops. sorry, my mistake. Evidently there is no hope. we are all just victims and perps aspiring to the lowest common denominator.

    adios.

  37. Jean says:

    Dread,
    If you’re really interested in my thoughts on these matters, ask me again this weekend on Open Blogging and I will provide them with a level of detail that can further conversation.. Thanks for asking!

  38. bob1 says:

    I find this exchange to be really instructive.

    So, one way to look at this:

    The choice is between living in a Darwinist hellhole, where lies are the currency of the leadership and the inequalities continue to mount, unabated.

    Versus a choice to actually improve conditions in this vale of tears, recognizing that while this is all temporal, and realizing we have a tremendous opportunity and responsibility in this democratic republic, to “make things better.”

    Boy, that’s a tough call…

  39. Duane Arnold says:

    Reflecting on what I read here…

    Reading BOC’s comments are instructive and speak to a reality that far too many families experience. Over the last several months, my wife and I have been navigating the complexities of Social Security, Medicare, Supplements, pensions and investments. On the other side of all these we have determined that we are “fine”. We are also aware that we are most fortunate as we know many people in similar circumstances that are not “fine”.

    Hope for a more just and equitable society is, I think, wholly within a Christian world view. It is not salvation, but it certainly counts as an aspiration that is “good” in and of itself. Reaching that “good” is another matter. I do not believe, however, that we will reach that equitable society easily. There are large segments of our population who are disenfranchised owing to history, economics and education (or the lack thereof). To address any problem, however, I think the problem has to be identified. Hope does not occur in a vacuum, but in confronting realities that are identified and addressed, but they cannot be addressed with fear…

  40. BrideofChrist says:

    I do want to encourage people, so let me tell you how we finished. We had seven extremely stressful years during and after the Great Recession. I went from 128 lbs to 109 pounds and finally went on Zoloft so that I could eat and sleep again ( yes, it helped) I had never been on antidepressants beforeha and it was humbling to start on them at age 54. All of those very intense Bible passages that we don’t really understand normally sustained me. The passages about drought, and horrible storms that turn your life upside down, all became very real to me. My favorite Bible passages during that time – the Book of Job. I never could even bear to read the Book of Job before, but it became my salvation. My view of God changed a little during my ordeal, just as Job’s did. I truly understand that we can and should expect trials and tribulations, and we should not be surprised by them. I felt like God had abandoned me for a little while, but He hadn’t. I am healthy and happy, my children and grandchildren and husband are healthy and happy ,and because of an unexpected inheritance I received when my mother died, I can even donate money to my favorite charities and my church ( as I have always) and fly to visit my adult children and grandchildren whenever I feel like now! What a blesding! We own a tiny 1400 square foot home near the beautiful Pacific Ocean in Oceanside California where we raised our two children and I taught school for 30’years. ( My children love to visit us here because it is so nice and sunny year-round, we’re close to the beach, and they still have many old high school friends here. Life is good again after the storm we endured. Sadly, many couples and families were destroyed by the Great Recession – divorce and suicides increased dramatically. We are in a better place in the U. S because of Obomacare and the ACA now. Most of my fear and stress would have been alleviated if the ACA had been in place whenever lost our jobs during the Great Recession 10 years ago. Never forget what caused that recession. ( deregulation of banks). If you forget history WILL repeat itself. Don’t let the Republicans destroy the ACA. I have a health policy through the ACA and I now pay $500 a month in afterr-tax dollars each month in premiums now, but before the ACA I was magnificent $1,000 each month in premiums for a him and I still paid co-workers payments. In just one year, my husband and I both Will be on Medicare. But YOU will still need the ACA – fight to keep it. For your sake, and your children’s.

  41. Duane Arnold says:

    BOC

    Many thanks for your comments on this thread…

  42. Michael says:

    BOC,

    I amen Duane…

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