Longing for a Better World: Hope in Professional Practices

René Erwich*, Jan van der Stoep

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Christians are called to be a witness to the coming of the Kingdom of God and to cultivate practices in which peace and justice may flourish. In order to serve God in their daily work, Christians are faced with situations that cause both hope and despair. In this article, we explore what the concept of hope means for the education of Christian professionals. How does hope help them to fulfill their professional duty, especially in situations in which perseverance and courage are needed? We first elaborate on what Snyder (1994), one of the founding fathers of the field of positive psychology, wrote about hope. However interesting Snyder's ideas may be, we contend that the project-based attitude to the future that guides his research does not help us to develop a full understanding of the ambiguities and urgencies of professional practice. According to the scholarship of Schön (1991) and Bourdieu (1998), hope has been described as the active anticipation of a future state of affairs. Because hope anticipates a reality that does not yet exist, it always is a risky enterprise. To use a colloquial expression, we can never be sure whether or not we are betting on the wrong horse. Kelsey (2009) reflected on hope from a theological-anthropological perspective. He argued that hope is always a response to something that is eccentric to humankind. Professionals do not bring hope themselves, but rather orient themselves to something that transcends the horizon of human existence. From a Christian point of view, hope is grounded in the community with the living God.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-115
Number of pages9
JournalChristian Higher Education
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2017
Externally publishedYes


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