Organized religions would have us look to the hills, from whence cometh our help. But instead cometh a monumental mudslide, ever-rising water, razor-strength winds and hate that assaults us – again and again and again. Hope gets battered. Hope gets catastrophe fatigue. Hope gets cynical. Hope gets worn out. And we, as humans, must have hope. It is the impetus for optimism, endurance and change.

Formal organized religion has diminished power as a place to go for hope. When it comes to belief in God and the practice of prayer, the Pew Religious Landscape Study, published in 2015, shows trends that are often confusing.

“Nones” is a term used for the religiously unaffiliated (in census data collection) who self-identify as atheists or agnostics or who describe their religion as “nothing in particular.” This group grew from 16 percent of the U.S. population in 2007 to 23 percent in 2014.

Still, 75 percent of the “nones” pray some of the time. This disaffected group wants authenticity, integrity and the facts of real life acknowledged before any formal religion can be considered. The phrasing most used by “nones” is “I am spiritual but not religious.” A “none” answered my question this way when I asked if the person prays: “Of course I pray, but I don’t worry about who or what I pray to.”

The secular world doesn’t seem like the place to turn for hope these days, either. Government is comedy and tragedy both, great for entertainment but not for getting important things done. Education is bifurcating society into the rich and the poor and is not great at producing literate, critical-thinking citizens who are informed and able to do collaborative work. Secular systems seem hopeless.

We are in a time of institutional crisis. Religion scholar and publisher Phyllis Tickle, in her book “Emergence Christianity,” wrote about the religious transition we are entering. Tickle demonstrates that every 500 years since the first century, there comes a time for an institutional (especially religious) garage sale in which the clutter needs to be sorted through. The old that doesn’t work has to be tossed, the old that needs to be cherished needs care and polishing, and new must be created.

We are living through one of those redefining times of turmoil; we are the Transition Generation. There are experiments of all kinds being embarked upon to bring about a new way to live together. We are seeing (if we look closely) an equal and opposite reaction to the hate-based fear that exists now. Love is getting loud and exaggerated and beginning to be formalized.

But we need hope mechanisms close to home. We need to find and create more community forums as we pioneer in this new frontier of spiritual and institutional transformation.

We have to manage the tendency to retreat, to talk only to people we know agree with us, to see the other as “wrong” rather than a co-human, to avoid constant self-reinforcement of our own position.

We must talk. Talk with people we don’t enjoy. Talk with people who scare us by being so different. Talk with people who don’t want to talk with us. Talk out loud about differently held truths. Talk to understand, not persuade. The differences become a source of new ideas. This “playing” with differences connects ideas and people so that an incubation process can take place and innovation can happen.

How to get through the “now” to the “new” is the dilemma. New and good is emerging. It is not, will not, be fast coming – or easy. This transition will demand the best of us. All of us are spiritual pioneers, like it or not, and pioneers survive with the assistance of hope, community and endurance. We must be spiritually fit and grow our hope through connection and conversations with people very different from ourselves. Hope has to win, and we have to nurture it ourselves while our institutions catch up.