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Hope for a Xanax Nation

December 29th, 2017 by Stephen Bauman

As the year whimpers to a close many feel it can’t happen soon enough. Good riddance 2017!

But, oh my, here comes 2018… It’s not as though we’re starting off with a clean slate. The dissolving political landscape won’t resolve by midnight Sunday. Come Monday morning we’ll still be a bitterly divided nation with a discredited Christian evangelical witness, emergent #metoo! moments cascading into a massive cultural earthquake, a rollicking financial market, turbulent tax matters, nuclear standoff, and so forth…

God bless us as the calendar flips a page…

Hard to argue with Bob Dylan’s eternal proposition, “the times, they are a-changin’”. Richard Rohr recently wrote, “The word change normally refers to new beginnings. But transformation more often happens not when something new begins but when something old falls apart. The pain of something old falling apart—disruption and chaos—invites the soul to listen at a deeper level. It invites and sometimes forces the soul to go to a new place because the old place is not working anymore.”

It appears some things are falling apart, change is upon us on every front and the way ahead unclear. We all feel it. We’re a Xanax nation for certain, anxiety our pre-eminent neurosis.

But lest you misread my heart, Christian hope always burns brightest in the darkest hour. That’s why the church adopted the winter solstice for marking the rebirth of hope. We’re a people whose faith has been founded upon the life and times of a man who set the pattern of resurrection following a horrific end. We are not undone because of unforeseen obstacles and dilemmas. Instead, relying on the God of life, we double down on our resolve to fashion lives of generous, resilient love.

As this New Year begins I’m feeling the need for my “soul to go to a new place because the old place may not be working anymore.” The beleaguered Christian church in America struggles to find its bearing in a fast evolving environment at the precise moment the astonishing message we hold seems more important, more useful, more on point, than ever. I am alert and aroused to the opportunity. I look forward to sharing it with you.  In this spirit I heartily endorse Happy New Year!!

Stephen Bauman

Rev. Dr. Stephen P. Bauman is the Senior Minister at Christ Church.