Entries in happiness (4)

Monday
Nov262012

Discipline is Treason in the Kingdom of Comfort

I had a conversation with a hurting mom recently. We were bemoaning certain aspects of youth culture and how broken it has become, and how damaged it makes our young people in return. She was seeing how the wider culture was robbing her son of dignity and innocence. Even more startling, she told me how he was seeing it too and felt overwhelmed by his inability to escape it. 

It was then that a comment I had heard a month or so ago took on new light.

I was listening to a podcast recently that was on website development, which usually leads to personal topics about life, work and happiness. The woman being interviewed made a powerful statement that has stuck with me, even though I can't find that particular podcast anymore. In response to the interviewer's comment on how many achievements she made and how strong of a work ethic she has, she responded with this comment.

"I don't know when, but somewhere along the line in recent history we decided to substitute Comfort for Happiness." 

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Thursday
May052011

Heaven and Catechesis

Talking about Heaven is not all that fashionable these days, and I am not sure that Hell has ever been fashionable to talk about (except in the odd-ball crowds).

Recently, Rob Bell, a famous evangelical preacher, author, and all-around good guy, has caused some controversy with his new book, Love Wins, which many suppose he is positing a "universalist" view of the afterlife, which is just a fancy theological way of saying that, in the end, Hell will be empty and everyone will be in Heaven.

Whether or not it holds is outside the point of this post.

People have started talking about Heaven and Hell and their importance in communicating the Faith. I am loving this new conversation. Heaven and Hell are crucial in evangelization, and I want to share some thoughts on the matter.

I am a nerd for Catholic morality, made so by the works of Fr. Servais Pinckaers, a Swiss moral theologian who wrote the book Sources of Christian Ethics, whereby he placed the desire for happiness and the Beatitudes of Christ back in their proper place in Christian morality, which is prior to the Commandments.

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Sunday
Mar272011

evangelization, the youth, and the Theology of the Body

Today I am giving two talks to the youth of Connecticut at their second annual "Youth Explosion" rally. I'm joined with the ever-talented Ike Ndolo Band, who I have never worked with before, but have run into in the ministry field many times.

I was asked to present to the teens in two thirty minute talks an overview of Pope John Paul II's famous Theology of the Body (TOB). Now, these talks spanned years and fill up a rather large book, and have produced book shelves full of commentaries trying to understand and apply his ideas.

...and I have two thirty-minute sessions to get it all in.

Evangelization always being my thing, I want to approach this talk from that perspective and not just give them a thorough check-list summary of TOB's main points. The catechesis needs to be there, but it needs to be framed through the lens of invitation, linked with a basic proclamation of the Gospel, and shown that this is the path to human happiness.

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Wednesday
Oct202010

Christian Morality: Happiness

Is there such a thing as "Christian morality", as in, a morality that is shaped by the Christian faith? If morality is universal, how can any religion or sect or belief claim to have a morality all to themselves, or claim that their morality is morality as such? As Catholics we have a strong belief in what is known as the moral law, or the natural law, or, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church puts it, the "natural moral law", that is written on the hearts of every human person and is echoed in each conscience. Is Christian morality, then, an extra superimposed or added on to the already existing super-structure of natural law morality?

These are questions that have bothered me over the years. I think this is what drove the Enlightenment project of Immanuel Kant. He sought to remove from morality any supernatural basis and ground everything in the individual's practical reason, that is, in the capacity for rational thought about human action.

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