The DuPage Unitarian Universalist Church exists as a beacon of liberal religious thought and practice. Amid the challenges and changes of a chaotic world, we aspire to proclaim and embody the possibilities of meaning in human life, of freedom in human thought, and of peace and justice in human community.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Sunday Service: Irrational Hope - Sunday December 7th, 2014

Irrational Hope
Reverend Tom Capo
Preached Sunday December 7th, 2014

I offer this poem by Vineet Bansal for your reflection:
What hope means
Hope is bright shining light which keeps darkness at bay
Hope is gentle cold breeze on a hot summer day
Hope is to remain positive when going gets tough
Hope is seeking more when others think you had enough
What hope means
Hope is dreaming of tomorrow
Hope is simmering under sorrow
Hope is sparkles when tears are in our eyes
Hope is a beautiful thing & beautiful things never die
What hope means
Hope is as light as a feather
Hope keeps all of us together
Hope is ubiquitous and free of cost
Hope is the last thing ever lost..... 

David McRaney in his book You are not so smart wrote:
    “The misconception: If you are in a bad situation, you will do whatever you can to escape it.  The truth: If you feel like you aren’t in control of your destiny, you will give up and accept whatever situation you are in.
    In 1965, a psychologist named Martin Seligman started shocking dogs.  He was trying to expand on the research of Pavlov—the guy who could make dogs salivate when they heard a bell ring.  Seligman wanted to head in the other direction, and when he rang his bell, instead of providing food, he zapped the dogs with electricity.  To keep them still, he restrained them in a harness during the experiment.  After they were conditioned, he put these dogs in a big box with a little fence dividing it into two halves.  He figured if [he] rang the bell, [the dog] would hop over the fence to escape, but it didn’t.  It just sat there and braced itself.  They decided to try shocking the dog after the bell.  The dog still sat there and took it.  When they put a dog in the box that had never been shocked before, or had previously been allowed to escape, and tried to zap it—it jumped the fence.  [McRaney asserts:]      You are just like these dogs…The leading theory as to how such a strange behavior would evolve is that it often springs from all organisms’ desire to conserve resources.  If you can’t escape a source of stress, it leads to more stress, and this positive feedback loop eventually triggers an autonomic shutdown.  At its most extreme, you think if you keep struggling you might die.  If you stop [struggling], there is a chance the bad thing will go away.”