In the last couple of days, there has been a big discussion going on on another blog about "peak oil". In other words, have we used up all the easily acquired oil, and will our world economic system collapse because we don't know how to live without it?
I like a little light summer reading, so I've been following the conversation. I don't have a strong opinion about peak oil, other than that it is a finite (at some point) resource and when we use it we cause pollution. I don't see why I personally need to know any more than that. What has surprised me, though, is the number of people who really believe that civilization will disappear and we will all have to survive by the skin of our teeth, fending off rioting masses of thugs who will want to break into our homes and steal our food. When I tried to reassure one young woman that just because she is medically fragile doesn't mean she will be left to die in some survival-of-the-fittest Apocalypse, someone else gave me the business about being unrealistic about how kind and caring the American public is.
Wow. If I read enough of that kind of stuff, I may just begin to think that way myself.
Therein lies the key. What are you putting in your head? Because what you put in is what you become. If you spend your day thinking about a scary future, or how nasty people really are, or who is out to get you, well, how can you be hopeful at all? I'm not talking about having your head in the sand about real problems that need solutions, or blissfully continuing down a selfish path that will truly harm future generations. I'm talking about hope.
One of my favorite verses from the Bible says "Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things." (Philippians 4:8) It falls into that category of "taking every thought captive for Christ", practicing the discipline of positive thought, through the power of the Holy Spirit. That's not thinking about things that are false, but comforting ("oh, we'll never run out of oil"), because the verse states clearly that we should think about what is true. It's not sending "positive thoughts" out into the universe in the hope that they will somehow change reality. No. It's looking at what is very, very real, but very, very good, and focusing on that. That's how we can see God working. That's how we can find hope minute by minute.
So, I'm going to start a new post label category: Think On These Things. When I find something true, noble, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy, I'm going to post it and label it with that label. Because there is a lot of that out there. Because God is working, all around us. Because there is hope.
Here's something to start with: