So, I've been thinking a bit about our forthcoming series on hope, trying to give it some shape and find Bible passages that illustrate different aspects of the theme.
And I've hit my first issue: do I use the 'E' word?
They used it at Spring Harvest and it was marvellous to see all kinds of, I assume, Charismatic Christians talking earnestly over their Butlins' carry outs about 'Eschatology'. I imagine this doesn't happen in most churches across the UK on an average Sunday.
Did it help people? Well, you'll have to ask them. But the ones I talked to did find the word quite useful for labelling the full extent of Christian hope. It enabled them to see that hope is about more than the second coming and whether that's to be expected before, during or after the tribulation/millennium/rapture. Indeed it enabled most of them to realise that they could jettison the theology of the Left Behind series and still remain perfectly sound Bible believing Christians.
So, shall I be using the 'E' word?
I am tempted to because it will enable us to set the series - reasons to be hopeful - in the context of a full-orbed grasp of Christian thinking about the future and how it affects our lives in the present. What do you think?