I recently led a discussion on “How to Worry Well” at my church weekend away. In preparing for our discussions I came across this wonderfully insightful comment from Oliver O’Donovan, who includes some in-depth reflection on the nature of modern anxiety in his book “Finding and Seeking.” He notes that much modern anxiety is conceived in the passionate throws of anticipation: an elicit union of “breaking-news” and consequentialism (the practice of justifying our present actions on the basis of their anticipated consequences).
Why are our first impressions of events so important to us...? It is because we feel our identities are at stake... Every culture concerns itself with news-bringing in one form or another; most other cultures have been more relaxed about it. Perhaps simply because we have the power to communicate news quickly and widely, we are on edge about it, afraid that the world will change behind our backs if we are not [up-to-date] with a thousand dissociated facts that do not concern us directly. It is a measure of our metaphysical insecurity, which is the constant driver in the modern urge for mastery...”
In contrast, FAITH in God's past action gives us firm ground from which to launch our moral decision making, and HOPE gives us the confidence to stay the course, despite the disorienting fog of the immediate future lying before us.
Faith and Hope free us from the relentless need to anticipate the where the "times" are heading next, and instead focus our attention upon the next step of love that lies immediately at our feet.
For more about Oliver O'Donovan, check out this Oliver O'Donovan Facebook Page.
I'm Steve. Anglican Presbyter, Practical Theology Enthusiast, and Graphic Design Hobbyist in Sydney, Australia