According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – anon
Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – anon
Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson
We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord
Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

Monday, April 25, 2011

We are happy when we are growing

http://rachelheldevans.com/

by Rachel Held Evans
April 25, 2011


Today’s post serves as a final entry in the Common English Bible’s Lenten Blog Tour. If you have a few moments, check out the rest of entries. 

    Happy are people who are downcast, because the kingdom of heaven is theirs.

    Happy are people who grieve, because they will be made glad.

    Happy are people who are humble, because they will inherit the earth.

    Happy are people who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness, because
    they will be fed until they are full.

    Happy are people who show mercy, because they will receive mercy.

    Happy are people who have pure hearts, because they will see God.

    Happy are people who make peace, because they will be called God’s children.

    Happy are people whose lives are harassed because they are righteous
    because the kingdom of heaven is theirs.

    -  Matthew 5:3-10, Common English Bible

*****

I’ve always been a bit unnerved by Bible translations that render the operative word of the incomparable Beatitudes “happy” instead of “blessed.”

“Blessed” is the word we use around our Christian friends when talking about food, shelter, and responsibilities. “Happy” is the word we use when ’30 Rock’ is all-new or when the Krispyy Kreme "HOT" light glows or when our contentment comes without any guilt or pressure to spiritulaize it.

Happy just sounds less holy.

And besides, how can one be downcast and happy at the same time? Is the happiness that Jesus speaks about in the Beatitudes reserved only for some future state, unattainable in this lifetime?

Poet W.B. Yeats wrote that “happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that, but simply growth. We are happy when we are growing.”

Indeed, studies indicate that the happiest people are not those who have achieved all their goals, but rather those who are making progress toward their goals. It is in the striving that we encounter the kind of happiness that is best described as joy.

I don’t know about you, but I often suffer from what Tal Ben-Shahar called the “arrival fallacy,” the belief that when I reach a certain destination, then I will be happy.

  • “If I can just get that raise…”
  • “If I can just finish school…”
  • “If I can just find the right man…”
  • “If I can just publish a book…”
  • “If I can just write a bestseller…”
Then, I’ll be happy.

I do this all the time when it comes to my doubts. I figure I’ll be happy once I stop having them, once my Christian faith makes perfect sense in both my heart and my head, once I no longer struggle with all these relentless questions.

Perhaps you feel the same way at the end of your Lenten journey. Perhaps you expected to be “finished” by Easter, all the lessons you hoped to learn in your 40-day fast permanently etched into your character.

Too often we ask ourselves, “Have we arrived?” when the better question is, “Have we grown?”

Growing isn’t easy. It often comes with grief, humility, costly mercy and an insatiable hunger for more. But Christ promises us that the story ends well—that we will be made glad, that we will see God, that we will be fed until we are full.

I guess we just have to believe him when he says that we can be happy in the meantime.

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