Archive for August, 2010

Jack on joy, ed. 3

I can’t help myself but quote C.S. Lewis.  This man knew about joy so heed his wisdom well.

“Now God designed the human … to run on Himself … God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there.  There is no such thing.” (Mere Christianity)

This quote lines up so well with the Naugle book I posted on yesterday.  Do we really believe that we will not know joy without God?  Or do we continue to believe we can find a gladness in something other than or apart from God – if we could only accomplish enough or look the right way or find the right adrenaline rush or get the newest toy, then joy would flow?

Today I’m going to live seeking no happiness apart from God.


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Reordered love, reordered lives

I’ve been reading a book I picked up when I browsed through the University of Chicago bookstore.  It’s by David Naugle, professor of philosophy at Dallas Baptist University, and is called Reordered Love, reordered lives: learning the deep meaning of happiness.

What a really fine book this is (you can learn more about the book here).  Do you want to sort through either the presence or lack of joy in your life – look to your heart and examine what it is you love.  Then you’ll have a clearer picture of joy in your life because so often our lack of joy is rooted in a disordered heart, one that has given itself away to things, experiences and people that can never live up to the true needs of the heart’s longing for joy.  Instead, Naugle, drawing on the rich Christian tradition and current cultural reflection, presents the case that the only basis for genuine human happiness and flourishing is found in our relationship with God who re-orders our heart’s loves.

Check it out – this is a wise and lovely book, and comes with helpful discussion questions at the end.  Read it with some friends and talk honestly about where your heart is at and let God re-order your loves and so transform your life.

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Vintage gladness

Today is the anniversary of the day when I pinned Betty to the ground and made her say “I do.”  In family circles our wedding is commonly known as the “wedding from hell” because it was hotter than Hades in Chicago that day – 105 degrees and humidity nearing 205%.  How hot and muggy was it?  In one of our wedding pictures, it looks like the minister has a nice salmon coloured shirt on – not so, it was a very white shirt stuck onto his dripping torso.

Looking back, there are many things I’d do differently.  It was a fairly cookie-cutter wedding – we were so young, so beholden to convention.  Today I would probably prefer an outdoor (up on one of the nearby Rocky Mountains) or backyard wedding, I’d have Peter Gabriel’s stunningly beautiful and quirky song “The book of love” sung (check out the song on this you tube video here, perfect because it includes scenes from Betty’s favourite Jane Austen novel, Pride and Prejudice), maybe I’d go barefoot in a newly tailored suit instead of a rented tux.  There would be prayers from friends and blessings from family.  And we would play – there would be dancing (a Celtic band of fiddlers or maybe a Zydeco band) and everyone would need shorts and t-shirts for games.  Of course, there would be good food, lots to drink, and the night would end with a huge bonfire that we could linger around.

But I wouldn’t want to change the players.  In a day when marriage gets all too much bad press, can I just rave on marriage for a while.  And not your “white-picket-fence-traditional-family-values-everything-is-better-when-you’re-married” type of way.  But just to hold out for the goodness and gladness of a person lashed to the mast with you.

Seriously, I’m one of the luckiest people around.  I have a woman who is committed to my best and reminds me that I’m loved; she pokes fun at me and grounds my easily inflated ego, makes our life beautiful, draws me out of my cave and is a gracious witness to my life – even the ugly, petty parts of it.  I think of all I’ve done and experienced that mostly would not have happened if Betty weren’t part of my life.

Of course a relationship like this comes with its share of irritations, but oddly enough that’s part of its goodness.  They grow me up, move me toward maturity, and save me from self-absorption.

There is some vintage gladness in marriage and I’m going to keep sipping from that cup for as long as I’m able.

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