It was not a secret, to my congregation, that I was not in love with the word "hope." Yes, I know I know, Christians are supposed to cling to hope, hope in Christ that is. Maybe that is why I chose this word to study and contemplate, as we went through the Advent and Christmas season. My hope was more like the hope of Job understanding that God was near yet so far, and where oh where is the fun in this way of living. Little did I know that this word would become a lifeline to me in the months of January and February. Did you know that the word "hope" is only mentioned in the Gospels twice? Maybe you are like me and have translated the word hope into expectations. This might just be where the trouble begins. Many of us feel shell shocked by our very untraditional POTUS. He is not like anything other politician we have ever witnessed. Brash, unconcerned about what people think of him, loud, extremely fast moving, and some would say arrogant and prideful. Others would say that he is doing everything he promised he would do if elected.

Watching this highly volatile president, and social media, reminds me that we sometimes become what our leaders become. We fight fire with fire. Someone yells, we yell louder. Someone hurls insults; we find a grander way to articulate hurtful insults right back. This is not the way to peace. On the other hand, how do we fight against angry, demeaning and slandering insults? Jesus would say turn the other cheek and continue to give to the poor, water to the thirsty, shelter to the homeless, medicine to the sick, befriend the un-loveable, and keep preaching Love. This does not mean we have to bow down to patriarchy and oligarchy. We are in a word to "persist." Persist in the name of love and justice for ALL. Persist for the constitution yes, but more importantly, persist in the name of Jesus.

Heartened and hope-filled is what I felt when the Washington Post printed a full page ad in their paper, Wednesday and that had the signatures of 100 evangelical pastors (not just those leaning left liberal pastors) including Max Lucado and Ann Voskamp, who were not supporting the immigration ban that the POTUS ordered last week. Another 400 ministers have also signed on the website in protest of the POTUS's position.

As I watch the continued speaking out of lay people and pastors I am filled with hope and my heart is continually being filled, heartened, that God is with us, and the refugee, the forgotten, the veteran, the LGBTQ Community, the Muslims, and the Buddists, and all ya'all. Thanks be to God. The key is to be persistent in our love for God and our neighbor.

Noblesville's Teri Ditslear is a pastor whose column appears Saturdays in The Times. Contact her at, on Facebook or at