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Where Is My Hope | Provoketive Magazine
18 Jan 2012

The Author

I am the Senior Editor at Provoketive. I am the author of the recently published, Discovering the God Imagination. I also serve as Senior Editor for Civitas Press, a boutique publishing firm specializing in inspiring and redemptive ideas. I am developing a new model for publishing and seek to create new opportunities for fresh and creative voices.

Occasionally, I speak on issues of justice, postmodern theology, and living a life in the way of Jesus. I leads workshops on The Practice of Love and Exploring a Postmodern Gospel at BeADisciple.com.

I am a son, a husband, and a father. I live in Folsom, Ca, with my beautiful wife and amazing three children.

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Where Is My Hope
prison hope

A friend of mine recently asked me, “Why are you so confident in your conclusions?” The question caught my attention and caused me to ask some very deep questions about where is my hope.  I don’t spend a lot of time trying to prove anything anymore, and yet he was still seeing me as firm in my convictions.

Over the last fifteen years, I’ve spent a great deal of time listening deeply to my own faith and the process that goes into it. I wrote a book about my conclusions and then spent the last several years allowing my own conclusions to be put to the blender.  Would it blend?  I taken on my own historical understanding of the Christian faith and found it wanting.  But instead of abandoning it, I sought to redeem it.  And after publishing it, I felt like I had…at least for me.  And that was enough.  I had discovered the relentless nature of love and grace, and just when I though I had found the end, God blew up my box.

But when my friend asked me the question, I had to step back once again and ask, “Where is my hope?”  Was it in my own conclusions?  Had I constructed a new box in which to live in, one that would imprison me in an unreasonable certainty and potential blindness?  Had I rebuilt the very same thing I had attempted to tear down.  Gone were the deep caffeine laden conversations that lasted four hours long.

At the core of my faith was the idea that there was nothing we had done or could ever do to lose the love of God.  But we could lose sight of the love of God.  The problem of original sin was that as human beings, we could lose site of God’s original judgment of humanity (Gen 1:31). We could construct a false conclusion that we could do something that could change God, and thus God’s judgment.  And in losing site of that judgment, we’re getting it wrong (sinning). The problem was then not in God, but in us.  The cross was God saying, “This is how far I will go to show you that you are loved.”

I spent several days pondering the question, asking myself, “What if I’m wrong?  What if my understanding of the Christian faith was wrong?”  I had offered conclusions that were counter to my own historical, evangelical perspective of faith.  If I stood before Jesus, what would I say?

And then it hit me once again, that my hope was not in my constructed understanding of the Gospel, one that I felt was both logical, restorative and consistent with Scripture. My faith was then not in my faith.  It was in Jesus to be my faith for me.  My hope was in the love of God to judge for me.

[This post is part of the Synchroblog on Hope.  For a full list of participants and posts, go here.]

6 Comments
6 Comments
  1. Jonathan – thanks for this! I also have some things that I feel confident enough about that sometimes make me wonder if I haven’t moved from one box to another but like you I believe that this time things are different! This time (like you) I am not putting my hope and confidence in what I believe as much as I am putting my hope and confidence in the love of God … and when I say “the love of God” I am not just talking about the love that he has for me … I am talking about “THE LOVE OF GOD”

  2. thanks, jonathan. i like that reminder of remembering what’s underneath it all, really. underneath all our constructs and things we can try to articulate. good synchroblog, clearly a really great topic for the new year!

  3. I like your process, and the way you discover the depth of hope in a new and simple way. Thought-provoking…

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