Tim Howles writes: The French, would you believe, have two words for “the future”. The first is “l’avenir”. This word describes the sort of situation that would likely pertain were things to progress along the trajectory that is currently established. It’s the word we might use, for example, to celebrate the prospects of a young couple whose commitment to one another right now surely presages a bright future ahead. By contrast, the second word, “le futur”, is more indeterminate. It encapsulates the sense that events might go one way or the other, for better or for worse. It speaks of a future that is hard to predict, a horizon that is difficult to discern, precisely because the present moment does not provide a ground from which to make confident predictions one way or the other.
Western society currently finds itself at a crucial juncture between these two conceptualizations of “the future”. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that we are in the process of transitioning from one to the other. And, if this is true, the challenge for Christians is as follows: how can we speak into this situation in a way that is truly hopeful?