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Towards a culture of hope

Christians need to champion a culture of hope in the midst of uncertainty, fear and financial crisis. This belief is motivating a Swiss futurologist to conduct a European survey by internet to discover not only their worries, cares and fears, but also their hopes.
Late last year, Dr Andreas Walker of Basel launched a national survey across Switzerland, resulting in several thousand people sharing what they thought the new year might bring.
On Christmas eve, the results were published in a leading Swiss boulevard paper, 20minuten, on both the front page and covering a whole page inside. Television and radio interviews gave Dr Walker further opportunity to raise the question of what people are hoping for.
Just as Jesus taught by asking questions, the survey is designed to explore empirically and academically what people hope for and why. Dr Walker aims to encourage people not simply to focus on their fears but also on their hopes. The megatrends of healthcare and wellness are megatrends of mortal fear, he explains, as our secularized society has lost the victory of Easter.
By raising such questions, Dr Walker aims to help people realise they need a solid foundation for their future hope.
He also wants to challenge Christians to be partners in establishing a culture of hope and to articulate hope in the context of today’s cultural, political and economical challenges.
“Are we able bringing the light the people need today?” he asks.
Repeat
Dr Walker is co-president of SwissFuture, a member of the Swiss Academy of Humanities and Social sciences, and advises politicians, business leaders and Christian non-profit organisations.
He is one of the plenary speakers at next May’s HOPE•II Congress in Budapest, and will participate in the futures think tank of the Schuman Centre during that congress.
This month Dr Walker is repeating the survey, this time in English, German and Swiss versions. During this month of November, he is again partnering with 20minuten, inviting readers of various publications, including weekly word, to take fifteen minutes to fill out the survey to say what personal hopes they have for the new year. Will it bring economic recovery? WIll new challenges and problems arise?
Spontaneous
These include questions like: •Who do you see as the greatest bearers of hope in 2011? •Who do you expect to receive hope from in difficult times? • What do you do towards having your hopes fulfilled? •Which historical characters give you hope?
In our postmodern European culture, Dr Walker explains, direct preaching and persuading with words are not always successful. Instead of starting with the presentation of what Christian hope is, the survey approach explores the issues around what hope is, what the grounds and goals of hope are, and how we can build the ‘competence of hope’.
Why not take a few minutes to go to the survey site at www.hope2011.ch to tell him your hopes for 2011? Over 3000 completed the Swiss survey in the first ten days of this month.

Till next week,
  Jeff Fountain

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