A Manifesto of Hope


Last week a Facebook message to Choices asked, “Hey, I grew up and graduated from Mt. Shasta – what is Choices all about?” Good question.  People are sometimes confused, and we get that.   Given the polarizing nature of  the words choice and life, communication can be a little ambiguous – albeit intentional. When we changed our name in 2006 to reflect a more culturally-connective posture, it really hit the fan. For example, “So, let me get this, you guys changed your mind and switched teams?”  Uh, no.

But I digress.  The point here is to communicate the what of Choices focusI’d like to use the following excerpt (primarily because I’m a giddy excerpt-a-holic) quoting depression-era Dorothy Day:

For those who are huddling in shelters trying to escape the rain,

For those who are walking the streets in the all but futile search for work,

For those who think that there is no hope for the future, no recognition of their plight . . .

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My family has had a tough go of it this past few years – we’ve experienced significant economic setbacks and losses that left us thinking what do we do now – how will we make it?  Still, we always had a good meal and a cozy bed to crawl into at the end of the day – and probably more notable, we always had each other, the support of extended family, and the care of our extended faith community.  Relationships = hope.

Relational poverty is probably the strongest indicator toward hopelessness. Lack of relationships keep people from feeling – and knowing – hope. Choices is all about extending relationship for the purpose of infusing hope into lives – what could be more life-affirming than acknowledging the worthiness of life by being present to people in need of relationship?

Last night I watched the season premiere of Private Practice after a very harrowing season-ending cliffhanger last spring. (Yes, apparently I’m confessing one of my vices!) Dell, an overwhelmed dad who has just taken custody of his young daughter is talking with his friend and co-worker, Cooper:  “I am a 25-year-old single father! How am I am going to do this right without screwing her up?”  Cooper flatly tells him, “You just do it. You love her and you ask for help.”  I wanted to jump up and yell, ” YES!  Did you hear that people?”

Being fond of the it takes a village quote, I love the village aspect of Choices.  (And no, I’m not referring to governmental oversight, but to the otherlyness potential of our communities.)  Villagers, in days gone by, helped protect each other from wolves and other invaders. (Great time to consider a question: who/what are the wolves and invaders of today?) Parents need help from the larger community – the village – to nurture, protect and provide for their children, whether they are infant or teen.  People who share a common vision come together, forming small communities to provide a gap-filling bridge that helps support parents and families – in a word: Choices.  Relationships = life-saving resources.

Being a community of compassion and providing a relational umbrella to those who are in need of shelter, whether it be emotional, physical, practical or spiritual helps our friends realize hope. Encompassed in that is a desire that people discover connectedness to the God who loves them so passionately – and an awareness that this love is reflected in those of our Choices community and beyond.

And, if the above still leaves you with questions, there’s always the default mission statement:

Choices exists as a compassionate community providing resources and support to those with pregnancy, parenting or sexuality related concerns.

“Choices exists as a compassionate community providing resources and support to those with pregnancy, parenting or sexuality related concerns.”

Questions?  We’re happy to dialogue!

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