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我晚来一直对以色列人感到很多同情。他们来自埃及,感到充满活力和兴奋,兴奋和恐惧。在红海上赛车后,他们被跳上肾上腺素,看着敌人在海浪之下被扫过后,他们感到胜利。然后他们到了沙漠,他们看着摩西,他们无畏的领导人,他们直接联系耶哈威的人,他们说:“好吧!接下来会怎么样?计划是什么?”摩西看着他们。还有耸耸肩。人们... 不喜欢这样。我们都知道在这种情况下我们应该对以色列人进行评判。你们没有信心!但是我得告诉你,我对他们感觉。计划很不错。我希望我的领导人有一个计划。特别是,在这个时候,我希望领导人能够为何时以及如何重新开放边界制定某种计划。据我所知,这样的事情根本不存在。而且我不确定为什么。在我看来,某个人委员会可以坐下来找出我们需要达到的基本指标才能重新开放的第一阶段,然后是第二阶段,他们可以弄清楚这些阶段会是什么样子,然后他们可以告诉我们那个计划是什么。但是,也许这实际上相当困难,因为截至目前为止,这样的东西不存在。因此,我们中一年多没见过我们的家人,一年多没有回家,一年多来没有关押亲人的人,只能坐下来,想知道我们什么时候可能会这样做。而且,每次边境封锁在每月 21 日延长时,我都会感到悲伤和更多的沮丧。我需要有一个计划。我需要知道我们正在努力。现在 —— 我意识到州长和总理以及总统和总理能够体面地充满自己的后院发生的事情,鉴于安大略省的 Covid 案件的状态,我关注边境可能有点自私和密歇根州。我们的领导人正在试图扑灭火灾和处理巨大的危机。这是一项我不羡慕的工作,无论我对某些工作如何处理感到沮丧,引导我们完成这项工作的人都要深切感谢和尊重。但我确实想知道 —— 即使在应对危机的同时 —— 领导人现在需要做的事情中是否在展望未来。还有一个愿景。然后用希望的语言说话。在希望中构建所有东西。感觉就像一直是另一种方式。“疫苗看起来很有效!但是我们仍然不知道接种疫苗的人是否可以传播病毒。”“数百万人对 J 和 J 的反应很好!但是六个人得到了血块,所以我们正在暂停。”我明白了。为了谨慎起见,我们想错。有很多未知情况,我们需要明智和小心。没人想引诱公众陷入虚假的安全感和暗淡感。我们已经证明,即使我们认真接受事情,我们也不能很好地遵守规则。但我不禁想知道翻转叙事 —— 如果是希望说话,花更多时间为未来制定愿景 —— 实际上是否会激励我们更多。如果我们至少知道我们正在努力的目标,如果我们有一些目标,如果我们有计划,我们会更愿意压制。如果疫苗的叙述比以往更加庆祝和充满希望,我们会担心有多少人无法获得疫苗吗?如果故事更 “看看这有多惊人” 而不是 “这里可能出错的一切”?我想知道... 我们是否经常花太多时间专注于已经出错和可能出错的问题,而没有足够的时间为未来投下充满希望的愿景?这会阻碍我们共同努力实现变革的能力吗?如果我们围绕具有挑战性和有争议的问题进行的对话被更多的希望和更少的恐惧、更多的远见和更少的焦虑、更多的前瞻势头和减少现在的责任所构成,我们可能会从更多人那里获得更多需要有愤怒的空间 还有悲叹和诚实。但是,故事结束的时候是往往的吗?我很好奇你的想法。这让我感到震惊的是,在教会里,很容易专注于坏人、丑陋的和罪恶的事情,相反,我们被要求根据未来的愿景,以世界上的想象力和希望来框架我们所做的一切。耶稣、保罗和约翰说:“这就是即将发生的事情。”“那么你现在该怎么活?”在神学院,我们学会了总是以恩典音符结束布道,总是以希望结束。一方面是因为希望是那里最真实的事实。但我认为也是因为人们对希望的反应比恐惧或内疚的反应更好。希望永远是更好的动力。我现在可以用一点希望。关于很多东西。我可以使用计划。

Laura de Jong

Laura de Jong serves as pastor of Second Christian Reformed Church in Grand Haven, Michigan.

16 Comments

  • Joan Bouwma says:

    How I agreed with you! I always do better with a plan as it gives me something positive to think about, to do, to build on. A plan gives me a sense of control when everything around me seems out of control. A plan gets me through most days. New of the good that is happening in our churches, in our community, in our country, and in the world usually takes a back seat to the stories of violence, chaos, and dysfunction. But God is at work in all of us and we need to recognize and celebrate how he is working out his plan to bring his kingdom to this earth. He has a plan.

  • mstair says:

    Grateful for your reminder of folks yearning for home and family …
    I will offer prayer for resolution.

    Your thoughts brought up this realization … our Government “by the people” currently has nearly half the “government” (45%) with no vaccine and no plans to get one …
    Their plan?

    Resolve nothing, wait for the vindication that it led to damaged DNA, and then celebrate their rightness?
    Watch the other robotic 1/2 half of the country blindly succumb to the compromise of liberty and then delight in their own asymptomatic infection?
    Quietly acquiesce to eventual world-wide realization that – like cancer, there are some diseases that never give way to herd immunity?

    It seems Our Lord has another way …

    “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” (Phillipians 2)

  • John vanStaalduinen says:

    Since this is a political opinion piece, my comment is: how is the Biden Church working out compared to the Trump Church?

    • Laura de Jong says:

      John,
      This is a political piece only inasmuch as I’m wondering what the role of any political leader is (or any kind of leader for that matter). Nothing is pointed at one specific person. Nor am I trying to conflate politics with the church…simply querying if the same “hope framework” that exists in the church could or should carry over into our political conversations, not because our ultimate hope rests in politics, but because hope generally prompts better responses from people than fear.

    • George Vink says:

      John, if, and it’s always an if, if I’m reading your comment correctly, it’s not helpful!

      • John vanStaalduinen says:

        I think you read it correctly, the Biden Church is failing miserable and spreading doom and gloom news Where as the Trump Church was always trying to spread optimistic news. By the way, I learned there was a Trump Church right here on this ‘reformed’ journal blog, very informative.

  • Rodney Haveman says:

    Laura,
    I appreciate this because I am always despereate for a plan, but one thing I’ve learned about myself is I want that plan because it gives me a false sense of control. If we have a plan, then we can control what happens and where we’re going, but what if we’re not in control? What if control is an illusion?
    The second thing I’ve realized is people desire truth over a plan. We can handle what’s happening if you tell us what you know at this time, what you don’t, and how much it could change in the future. In other words, you’re working on it, but you can’t guarantee anything because you’re not in control.
    I also think that this truth requires a consistent integrity. You tell the truth over and over and over again, because when it counts, when people need to trust you with their lives, they will because you’ve been honest with them as much as we can expect or hope.
    Finally, you are 100% right, hope is more powerful than fear or guilt, but hope cannot be a wish or a dream. It must be real, honest, and full of integrity. Only then can hope drive us to a future that we can believe in.
    Thanks

    • Laura de Jong says:

      Thanks Rodney. I’ve been wondering along those same lines – how do we speak in hope without resorting to false optimism. But to your point about truth-telling, what strikes me about the pandemic/vaccine narrative is that there are two ways to tell falsehoods. On the one hand, the seriousness of the pandemic could be and was gravely downplayed. But I think the effectiveness of the vaccine, and the hope that that gives, has been downplayed as well. We’ve tended to focus on the negative side effects or all the unknowns, even as there is overwhelming data that tells a story of incredible success. So how do we measure the truth of the unknown against the truth of the known? Or balance caution with hope?

      • Rodney Haveman says:

        Thanks Laura,
        I agree. In the beginning we (larger culture) undersold the severity of the virus (even as those who were experts told us how severe it could be) and now we undersell the achievement of the vaccine (again, even as the experts tell us how marvelous it is). I wonder why that is. It seems that the first action comes from wishful thinking, maybe from all of us … It won’t come here. It won’t be too long. etc. And then we spent so much time trying to make folks see how serious it was/is, we never turned to the good news or hope that is available to us now with simple action in getting a vaccine. The media doesn’t help (if it bleeds it leads).
        I wonder if we sometimes spend so much time trying to emphasize the seriousness of sin in our church that we struggle to turn to the good news of hope, eschatology, etc.

  • George Vink says:

    Laura,
    As someone who shares particularly the need to have a more open Canadian border, we’ve gone ahead and made plans for a late June “crossing no matter what…..” It gives us a sense of planning, expectation, hope…………even if then it’ll get dashed or delayed. Thanks for your thoughts and felt though that last night’s address to congress injected some hope if we’d get beyond whatever political blindnesses adhering to our observations.

  • RLG says:

    Thanks, Laura, for sharing your hope and desire for a plan. I agree that focusing on the negative is often a downer, although often necessary. But let’s lean toward the positive. As to a plan, we certainly are not at a loss, for a plan. As we saw last night our president has a great plan that the rich will pay for. Let’s ask them. As to the church’s eschatological plans, we have an abundance of them. There’s the a-mill plan, the post mil plan, the historic pre mil plan, the dispensational pre mil plan, the pan mil plan. Just pick one and be happy. It’s too bad the church has a hard time agreeing to the same plan and hope. Maybe that’s why people outside of the church sees the church as such a negative force in our society. What a conundrum for the church.

  • JK says:

    Laura for your thoughts and questions,
    As I look to this, I see 2 things.
    – in the Church, we understand grace, salvation, and look expectantly to perfection in heaven while looking and experiencing God sightings and his presence on this side of eternity. Ending worship in a moment of grace and hope is the best thing we can do to reset, gain strength, and bolster ourselves to the onslaught we will experience as we walk out the doors. Thank you for continuing to do this every week! Yes, this is where our attention and efforts need to stay focused
    – the press and much of our political leadership understand that in the (sinful) world, blood and gore sells. It sells media, it sells fear, and it sells leadership crafting more ways to keep or assume more control, and it sells short term memory via manipulating the emotions and cranking up the drama. For the press, it sells the chaos, and for the political world, too often it sells a replacement savior. They often are their own worst enemies, but they both understand the control aspect and that they need need each other. Our political leaders may have good intentions and will try to sell some optimism, but the reality is the plan is so lofty, we begin to be skeptical from the start and easily dismiss or forget the priorities laid out.

    In short, it is a power struggle – within ourselves and within our institutions – but it isn’t really about us.

    I realize that this may not be super helpful on the surface, but I have found that I too was exasperated until I began to understand it for what it is and not put added credence into it. My education was in Political Science and Economics. I used to get super charged about the theory, and the rhetoric. It took God rocking my world to get me to surrender and let it all go. (One of my daughters went 2 rounds with cancer before 12 years old. She grown and married now – in good health, but the lessons learned as a Dad haven’t dimmed.)

    I don’t have a plan for you specifically. But if helpful, this has become my plan. As I age, it has become more about observation and letting go. I find that as participate in what God has called me to and watch, I marvel more at God’s grace in my life and also the Devil’s desperate battle plans. The war being waged in front of us and in us, is truly epic and so far beyond us! It is most easily seen in our press, politics and sadly – too often in our churches. To keep from being consumed by these institutions, I find I must focus more on gratitude for what is immediately in front of me, followed immediately by finding more ways to show dignity to those around me. This has not been easy.
    Don’t get me wrong, I still have ideals and preferred outcomes. I am not pessimistic, throwing in the towel or slowing my political involvement. But for inner peace, I have found that I can look only to the evidence of God transforming me, his work with his Church and people, and focus less on our institutions – for none satisfy. It is a matter of letting it go and watching God work. I may not always get it at the time, but I am willing to let it go, and thus, in time be good with it.

  • Gerrit Van Dyke says:

    I am bothered by fact that there so many people who will not get vaccinated for various reasons including that they think the whole thing is a hoax. How can a government plan when dealing with irrational behavior. Both presidents worked to get us all vaccinated but somehow haven’t reached a lot of people on the necessity of that. The wrench in the works is that every new case of CoVid-19 is another chance for a mutation that is immune to the vaccine. The CDC does not want that to happen so we need to start all over.

  • Paul DeVries says:

    Thanks Laura, great article. I particularly like the lines, “And Moses looks at them. And shrugs. And the people don’t like that.” I feel like I do a lot of shrugging these days. If God had a plan for Moses and his ancient people, I guess he must have a plan for me and the church today too.

    I am going to share portions of your article with my Council tonight.

    Thanks.

    Paul DeVries

    BTW, when you finally get a plan, please share it. To quote a wise woman, “I could use a plan.”

  • Daniel Meeter says:

    Laura, I don’t know what to think about this post. On the one hand, Biden has been attempting to present a vision, a plan, and hope. And many people are responding. I may add that people responded to Trump because he too presented a vision and hope, (of a sort I did not like) though only the rudiments of a plan. I think Hillary Clinton failed to present any of them, and I don’t expect any from Justin Trudeau. But my church experience has made me very wary of “visionary leaders”. They have done my denomination very little good. Maybe it was very good that Moses had no plan. (By the way, let me recommend Zora Neale Hurston’s flawed but excellent book, Moses Man of the Mountain.)

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