Posts Tagged ‘happiness’

Convenience is not Happiness

Wednesday, February 14th, 2018

“Convenience is not happiness”  Many of you emailed or talked about that concept after Sunday’s service.  And it is big one!

One email especially struck me.  It was from a dad with 3 small children.

I think there is going to be a problem with children who have been afforded on-demand TV to watch a favorite show or any song they want on iTunes.

I agree.  And therein lies a challenge.

The challenge is this I imagine.  We as adults have a foot in a passing world that was far less “convenient.”  Even play took time.  I grew up building damns across small streams, constructing hay forts with buddies, riding bikes, camping.  I even remember saving for months to purchases a prized b-b gun on lay-away.  Nothing “convenient” there.

Our children are coming of age largely outside of that paradigm.   They are raised within a simple and incessant message that convenience is the name of the game.

Maybe that is why churches often struggle in this day and age.  Putting aside the obvious truth that some of the struggles are of our own making, maybe another key to understanding the decline in churches in North America is that church simply is not convenient.

Church, at its best, asks of people to commit to the inconvenience of embracing a larger hope.

That struck me last night.  There is a monthly group at NCL made up of Dads in the Congregation.  In the final round, where everyone takes a turn offering a last word or reflection, one of the dads in the group simply said “I love you guys.”

His reflection came at the end of a group of guys, gathered in a circle, simply offering the gift of listening generously to one another for an hour and half.

Nothing “convenient” about it.  And nothing could bring more happiness.

Will our children ever know that slower, 90-minutes-in-a-circle world and the beauty of slowness it embraces?  I don’t know.

But as a church we must certainly try.

The Simple Joy of Being

Friday, April 27th, 2012

So the equation is relatively simple.  Our self-centeredness is our hell – created and staffed by ourselves!  Inmate and Warden – all one and the same.  To the extent that our self-centeredness can be be detached from the thought patterns that protect, and yes even sickly nurture it, the more we let God in.  The more we let God in the more we come to the simple joy of being, the more we open into our true selves.

Funny how those moments of self-less joy catch us by surprise.  I am consistently too self concerned to let joy in.  God, at His always surprising best, works most effectively when I am not looking.  The joy of a new thought gleaned from some unforeseen source.  (Did you know seeds contain within them all the nutrients and energy they need to germinate?  A sermon taking root over that idea!)  Lunch with a dear friend.  Sharing history with a parishioner.  A text from the wise, “Buddy … God’s will not ours be done.”  My mom reminding me to write a poem.

None of that matters right.  Today I did not move mountains or marry a couple or offer words over the end of a earthly life.  But it was a day of joy, a day full of the simple joy of being.

Too Blessed To Be Stressed

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

My sister sent me a text.  She enjoyed a conversation she had with a house painter.  He found faith through battling a drug addiction. The conversation started simply – his T-Shirt read “Too Blessed To Be Stressed.”

Why don’t we live there?  Why do I choose stress so often?  Why do I choose worry so often?  Why am I so dammed “serious?”  Here is the reality – life is actually good – broken but good.  Blessings abound.  Most of what I categorize as “failure” opened up into something far different.  Learning to love is a life’s work but also a life’s joy.  Adventure.

On Sunday night a support group around divorce met.  Looking around that room, seeing so many tender faces there for reasons beyond “self” was a glimpse of heaven.  Yes it was serious and there was an underlying joy – not a joy of laughter but a sober, deeper joy of life lived well as life lived for others.  It is serious stuff but as Mary Oliver put it … “happiness, it is another one of the ways to enter the fire.”

True Life

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

“True love is love to the Lord, true life is the life inherent in love from Him, and true joy is the joy of that life.” Secrets of Heaven

Living into “true life.”  Funny how often we do get caught up in living a “true life” that may be wide but very shallow when what God may well be calling us towards is depth.

Living into true life, life that is part and parcel of living into God’s love, does make that demand of depth – a far different demand than our culture often makes of numerous, wide ranging experiences as the path to life.

Interesting reading an article sent to be by Rev. Mac Frazier, an article written by Helen Keller.  Given how most of us would define “living life” her experience fascinates because there is little in way of “experiential happiness” as many might define it given her blindness and deafness.  And yet she writes of being clearly happy.  Within the confines presented her, her world did break open and while clearly her range of experiences was indeed broad – far broader than many – her challenges clearly limited the range of “experience.”

What broke open was the present.  Finding the blessing where she was, where she stood.  “I do live in a beautiful dream; but that dream is the actual, is the present – not cold, but warm, not bare, but furnished with a thousand blessings.”  She was living the life inherent in living from God’s love, and the true joy growing out of that life.