I commented recently to some family members, via email, how some of the current events reported on the news were very discouraging and made me realize anew that “this world is not my home.” Some of my family misunderstood me. They thought that I was simply becoming a grumpy old man that has lost faith in the next generation. They thought I was giving up on life. Here was my reply:
When I said in an earlier email that “this world is not my home”, I didn’t mean that I was giving up on life and living. It didn’t mean that I have little regard for bright, intelligent people – especially my younger kinfolk. I love life and look forward to seeing what God has in store for me. What I meant is that the more I talk with bright, intelligent secular people I feel like an outsider. I am not like them at all. At the deepest level, we do not live in the same world. My values are not their values. The truths that undergird my life are not their truths. My understanding of why I exist is not reflected in the things they live for or care for. T.S. Eliot has pointed out that secularism is not simply disbelief in the supernatural but a total inability even to conceive of transcendence. My sadness comes from the awareness that more and more people are moving in that direction. My discouragement doesn’t come from generational differences (older people shaking their heads at younger people. I work with great kids every day.) It comes from our country’s move away from any acknowledgement of God at all. As a result, we have whole groups of people who believe that somehow another “system” is going to save them or they have given up hope altogether. And as I have read somewhere, the way we hope is the way we live. Glenn Tinder writes, “God is not only the object of hope but also the basis of hope. Not only do we hope for God, we hope in God. Hope is a human possibility, not mainly because of anything in human nature or in human historical circumstances – in themselves profoundly discouraging – but because the visible world is not the compass of being and human energies and faculties are not the only powers working in history.” When we lose this idea of transcendence, when we lose faith in the eternal, when we lose God, then, we lose hope. That is what makes me sad.
My desire in sharing this recent family email is that we can renew our efforts in praying for a world, our world that is drifting away from God and as a result is drifting away from hope. It does little good to shake our heads at what is going on. We need to lift our eyes to the One who can make a difference. We need to pray.
-President Larry Carter