Jack Nelson Pallmeyer spoke a Mayflower Adult Forum on March 11, sponsored by the Global Justice Advocacy Team. Pallmeyer addressed issues of power and of how congregations can be more effective in being advocates for international justice. Since we do not have a transcript or other mechanism for communicating his rich, in-depth analysis, we summarize some of his thinking by relating a core idea in his most recent book.
Addressing serious problems and repelling despair requires authentic hope. The opposite of authentic hope isn’t despair. It is inauthentic hope. Inauthentic hope is optimism disconnected from reality.
At the heart of inauthentic hope is an irrational faith in our country’s good intentions or in technology’s ability to solve any and all problems. There is also the comforting illusion that solutions are possible without us having to do or change much of anything. Inauthentic hope is based on the promise that a bright future can be built on the foundations of present values, lifestyles, and national priorities. No fundamental reassessments or sacrifices are required.
Rebecca Solnit writes: “Please don’t mistake hope for optimism…Optimists expect everything to turn out nicely without any effort being extended toward that goal. Hope…is based on uncertainty, on the much more realistic premise that we don’t know what will happen next…The real territory for hope is the possibilities we possess for acting, changing, mattering.
All changes, big and small, depend on each of us choosing to live authentic lives. Hope is more than idea we come to after weighing all the pros and cons. Hope is ultimately a choice we make that leads to action. (Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer Authentic Hope, pp. 5-11)
The Global Justice Advocacy Team would be delighted to have you join our team and help us cultivate hope and pursue justice-enhancing actions that matter. Contact Keith Roberts.