In HOPE

  In HOPE 6.20                                  back to home                        David Timms

Ministry Resource

The Quakers led the way among Christians in renouncing slavery in the United States. They were deeply influenced by the writing and speaking of John Woolman in the 18th century, a merchant whom God used in a powerful way. The Journal and Major Essays of John Woolman (7th reprint 2001; 330pp) has moved many readers since that time.

Hope Happenings

Hope International University Press has just published a book, Hope for the Future: Contemporary Values of the Restoration Movement (80pp), edited by Dr. Alan Rabe.The book comprises 10 chapters, written by various faculty members, that look at key themes of the Restoration Movement and their relevance for the Church today.

 

Hope International University
Fullerton, CA 92831

 

"In the torment of the insufficiency of everything attainable, we learn that here, in this life, all symphonies remain unfinished."  (Karl Rahner)

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Restless

The summer season brings change for many of us. (My apologies to those experiencing winter in the southern hemisphere right now.) The longer hours of daylight, the home and garden projects, the changed routine with the kids out of school, a long weekend or two, and perhaps some time off work. We travel, visit the beach, BBQ, read, and watch TV a little more than usual. We hope to recuperate a little, and yet many of us find ourselves restless and fidgety ... spiritually, emotionally, and relationally.

Let me paraphrase a recent, helpful insight from Ron Rolheiser:

We aren't restful creatures who occasionally get restless, fulfilled people who occasionally grow dissatisfied, or serene people who occasionally slip into disquiet. On the contrary, we are intrinsically restless, dissatisfied, and disquieted people. We do not naturally default into rest, satisfaction, and quiet, but into their opposite [emphasis added].

"Time off" becomes spiritually counter-productive for many of us, not because the easier pace is inherently bad but because rest, serenity, and satisfaction emerge from something other than just a changed daily schedule.

Some of us experience "stressful vacations" and find that a changed routine also undermines the intimacy of our walk with Christ. It's not the physical heat or the financial pressures or the lack of church programming. The "summer struggle" arises from a place deep within us, not the circumstances around us.

We do not naturally default into rest, satisfaction, and quiet. Our hearts typically incline the other way. Consequently, unless we intentionally nourish our walk with Christ, the relative quietness of our routines simply gives opportunity for the disquiet of our hearts to re-establish and re-assert itself.

How shall we proceed?

This summer, like all summers, will fall short of our deepest aspirations unless Christ remains our deepest aspiration. Just as the Sabbath rest fails to be restorative when it is simply "time off", so multiple Sabbath rests (a summer full of them or sprinkled with more of them than usual) will misfire apart from the desire for His Presence and our devotion to practicing it.

I, too, have house and garden projects I'd like to accomplish, a few places I'd like to visit, some outdoor grilling and water-splashing I'd like to join in. Ironically, these plans will subvert my refreshment unless I build them on a foundation of knowing Christ. The only way to over-ride our default setting is to desire Him above all.

Perhaps as we remind each other of such basic truth, this season will rise above our past experiences and we'll find rest for the restless soul.

In HOPE -

David

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David Timms serves in the Graduate Ministry Department at Hope International University in Fullerton, California. "In HOPE", however, is not an official publication of the University and the views expressed are not necessarily those of the Administrators or Board of the institution. "In HOPE" has been a regular e-publication since January, 2001.

For back issues of In HOPE, see http://www.hiu.edu/inhope/