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Thursday, March 11, 2010
I came across this blog post this week and am not sure what to think of it. On one hand, the author makes some good and Biblical points about contentment and personal holiness.
Contentment is a spirit of gratitude. It's the choice you make to either be thankful for the things you do have, or to whine about the things you don't have.
I want you to want the Kingdom of God more than your own kingdom. And that's hard, babies, that is so hard. And that usually means passing up a lot of what the world considers happiness. But it means that you will achieve blessings directly from God that most of the world never dreams of because they are too occupied with achieving the perfect birthday present!
But I wonder if she sets up her children with a poor understanding of happiness by claiming that it is a "reaction that is based on our surroundings," rather than a choice of attitude. Dennis Prager, who spends an hour each week of his radio show devoted to the topic of happiness, argues that happiness is a moral obligation. In other words, one way to love other people is to act happy in front of them even if the circumstances aren't particularly helpful to a positive frame of mind. If you act depressed and allow the situation to control you, you'll depress others and add to their unhappiness. If you act happy, not only will you potentially make yourself happier, you'll also increase the happiness of others. What the blogger above does instead is to assume that happiness is a feeling (one which is governed by external circumstances) rather than a state of mind and choice of attitude.

Now some of this may just be semantics... one man's joy is another man's happiness and all that. Perhaps. After all, it is difficult being happy unless one is content. So maybe I am merely splitting hairs. Or maybe it's a hair worth splitting in a day where prosperity is common yet happiness is daily fading, an age in which emotions rule, an era when the thrill of life is as fleeting as the shallow entertainment that is now required to feed it.


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Darius' book montage

The Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel The Main Thing
Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God
Overcoming Sin and Temptation
According to Plan: The Unfolding Revelation of God in the Bible
Disciplines of a Godly Man
Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem
When Helping Hurts: Alleviating Poverty Without Hurting the Poor. . .and Ourselves
The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith
Respectable Sins
The Kite Runner
Life Laid Bare: The Survivors in Rwanda Speak
Machete Season: The Killers in Rwanda Speak
A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I am a missional, evangelical, post/protestant, liberal/conservative, mystical/poetic, biblical, charismatic/contemplative, fundamentalist/calvinist, ... anabaptist/anglican, metho
Show Them No Mercy
The Lord of the Rings
Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass
The Truth War: Fighting for Certainty in an Age of Deception
Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming
The Chronicles of Narnia
Les Misérables

Darius Teichroew's favorite books »