Friday, June 10, 2011

Cosmic Misery-Based Brownie Points

            And other weird ways of life...  I can’t quite discern whether this is a Midwestern thing, a church people thing, or maybe just a me thing (seriously doubting it’s the last one), but I get the distinct impression that a lot of us feel the need to justify our behavior and choices by citing how not-fully-happy we are with them.  As if it is somehow more socially acceptable to do what you feel is right for you as long as you’re not doing it to make yourself happy.  As if someone is keeping a cosmic tally of the points and you get more if you're miserable.
            Sometimes this gets taken so far that we look at people who are doing what they want to do in life and are happy and succeeding at it and we think… whoa.  What the heck.  That is NOT how it’s supposed to be!  When really, it is not their happiness we oppose, so much as our lack of courage to believe that God wants us to be happy too.
            Now I’m not advocating some kind of solipsistic, greed-based approach to life.  I’m operating under the assumption that, for most of us, we get at least some genuine pleasure out of making other peoples’ lives happier.  But I think it’s perfectly acceptable in the Christian paradigm to believe that sometimes following your call will ignite a powerful and joy-filled part of you… and it’s absolutely right to be happy about that.
            Food for thought, and an accompanying promise for more frequent posts soon.


  1. Definitely good food for thought Laurie, thanks for sharing!

  2. (Peggy Lowery from Georgia)

    The Calvinistic conflict you have expressed
    brought to mind the influce John Piper's
    HEDONIST had years ago on my understanding of Psalm 37:4, and I recommend it highly if you
    haven't already discovered this 1986 gem.
    Piper opened the Preface with a quote from C.S. Lewis (THE LAST BATTLE): "There is a kind of happiness and wonder that makes you serious."

    I also recall another of Piper's books that I
    have given to a couple of friends as they
    embarked into full-time foreign mission work--
    GOD IN MISSIONS. I share from his opening sentences: "Missions is not the ultimate goal of the Church, Worship is. Missions exists
    because Worship doesn't.... So Worship is the
    fuel and goal of missions.... Worship has
    always been and will always be the ultimate purpose of GOD in the universe." So it's
    back to Psalm 37:4.

    I'll conclude with an encouraging word that's
    imprinted on the back of my Amigos for CHRIST
    T-shirt: "Don't ask yourself what the world
    needs. Ask yourself what makes YOU come
    alive and go do that. Because what the world needs is [Christians] who have COME ALIVE."