So I’ve been trying to think recently about how optimistic the Christian faith is.  Why does this matter you say?  Well, I sort of tend to be a fairly critical kinda guy.  But I don’t really want to be.  In fact I often have big dreams and plans.  The problem is I also tend to see the downside of things, the barriers and reasons why my ideas might never come to fruition.  Perhaps that’s a skill but it’s one that I need to learn to harness.  Anyway, if I can, I like to be around optimists to remind me not to get stuck in a critical rut.

Placing this to one side the reason I was thinking about all this is because I was wondering what the general mindset of a Christian should be?  Optimistic or realistic or pessimistic or none of the above?  On the one hand the Christian faith is really very optimistic.  That this world with all it’s horrible floods, famines, cyclones, earthquakes, human tragedy, oppression, rape, murder etc. is going to be all put right.  That we (Christians) are going to share in God’s glory one day and be with Him forever.  But on the other hand it has some pessimistic type tones too.  That we are humans who are affected by sin, who can never be perfect, who sin and ignore God.  But then of course there is the good (perhaps optimistic) news that Jesus came to deal with those very problems.

Perhaps optimism and pessimism are not the right categories for what I’m talking about here but I reckon that sometimes we Evangelicals can get a bit overly critical and then that makes everything feel a bit down, a bit stuck, a bit pessimistic.  For example when we get obsessed with being right or focus exclusively on the atonement as the sum total of any experience of God (it is important).  Or when we focus on our reality before trusting Jesus as sinners worthy of God’s wrath, rather than on our new reality in Christ, as God’s children, holy and dearly loved.  I guess I think the Christian faith is one that should be characterised by hope and joy and love but sometimes it ends up being about fear, pride, and rules.

We have an optimistic faith and I think we should generally be more optimistic and excited by God and what he is doing or could do.  I admire this in my Pentecostal brothers and sisters in Christ.