Yesterday evening I did buy books for my faith, (more about them soon) but I stopped myself buying yet more Dorothee Sölle, though I sense I would love to have her complete poetic works ... (hint it is my 50th birthday later this year) But one title of hers really struck a chord with me “Against the luxury of hopelessness”. How dare we live without hope. Is it the affliction of the well-off to live without hope? Maybe. Perhaps affluent societies, particularly those built on the ethic of competition, with work for many being a desperate experience of social-darwinism. Yet how does telling those who cry out their hopelessness that their cries are a luxury, help them or make help progress. I have neither bought nor read the book ( I feel I ought in honesty to add – yet …) I thought of the hopeless situation in Syria. I thought of my own battles in recent years with a sense of personal hopelessness. Had that tearful and painful battle been a luxury?
Walking away from the temptations of the bookshop, I wondered about the luxury of being hopeless and thought back to that time when I had felt hopelessness so acutely and realised that in many ways I had throughout that time continued to be hope-filled and to continue to hold out hope for others – at least in my preaching. Perhaps some of what I expressed at that time was self-indulgent.
The Kirchentag theme is “as much as you need” Soviel du brauchst ... perhaps when we indulge in hopelessness then it is a luxury. Many in the world living in truly hopeless situations are busy - getting angry, saving their children, their neighbours, protecting themselves, fleeing and looking for enough food and water to make it through the day. they do not have the luxury of hopelessness.
I suppose the cynical me wonders about the false hope sometimes marketed to us like a commodity. I don't need much of that at all thanks. Enough I am looking forward I sense to another trip to the book tables before leaving Hamburg ... luxuriating in the commodity of buy books about luxury. enough for now.