“We gain awareness of ourselves and others from setbacks and difficulties; we get used to a world that is not always about us; and those who do not have to cope with that are brittle, weak, unable to endure contradiction, convinced of the necessity of always having one’s own way. The rich kids I met in college were flailing as though they wanted to find walls around them, leapt as though they wanted there to be gravity and to hit ground, even bottom, but parents and privilege kept throwing out safety nets and buffers, kept padding the walls and picking up the pieces, so that all their acts were meaningless, literally inconsequential. They floated like astronauts in outer space.”
I was speaking about expressing proper emotions during my sermon last Sunday. This classic sketch was part of my introduction. I should add that this was one of those very rare times that I used a video clip to introduce my sermon. It was simply too apropos to leave out!
My wife and I were talking about a piece she read by Tim Keller in which he describes two types of people:
Those who get what they want and are not happy
Those who do not get what they want and are not happy
My wife took the second group of people and made two groups:
Those who have given up believing they will ever get what they want to be happy
Those who have not given up believing they will ever get what they want to be happy
As we were talking about all this, Doreen asked me if I thought there were non-Christians who truly were happy with their lives. I do. In fact, I know some. They have not yet gotten to Ecc. 2:11. (Take a gander to see what I mean if you are not familiar with this terrific section of Scripture.) Their hearts are still satisfied with their lives apart from God.
My question to you: Why are so many Christians such unhappy folk?
Well, if you are, I highly recommend this gem. I am about midway through it, but what a gift for heart and mind! Thanks to Peter Coelho for mentioning it in some of his sermons. Beautifully written and wonderful insights.
The word “pagan” is used in various ways. There are popular and scholarly definitions. Here, we get one that makes sense to me from Andrew Sullivan (HT: John Fea’s Blog, The Way of Improvement):
Trump is not an atheist, confident yet humble in the search for a God-free morality. He is not an agnostic, genuinely doubtful as to the meaning of existence but always open to revelation should it arrive. He is not even a wayward Christian, as he sometimes claims to be, beset by doubt and failing to live up to ideals he nonetheless holds. The ideals he holds are, in fact, the antithesis of Christianity — and his life proves it. He is neither religious nor irreligious. He is pre-religious. He is a pagan. He makes much more sense as a character in Game of Thrones, a medieval world bereft of the legacy of Jesus of Nazareth, than as a president of a modern, Western country.
Every pillar of Trump’s essential character is a cardinal sin for Christians: lust, gluttony, greed, envy, anger, and pride. We are all guilty of these, of course, but there is in Trump a centrality to them, a shame-free celebration of them, that is close to unique in the history of the American presidency. I will never understand how more than half of white Catholics could vote for such a man, or how the leadership of the church could be so terribly silent when such a monster stalks the earth.