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1166Monday's Belfast blog - is happiness over-rated

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  • Jon Kennedy
    Aug 4, 2014
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      JONAL ENTRY 1561 | MONDAY, AUGUST 4 2014

      Today's Scripture: If we judged ourselves truly, we should not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are chastened so that we may not be condemned along with the world. So then, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for another - if any one is hungry, let him eat at home - lest you come together to be condemned. About the other things I will give directions when I come. Now concerning the spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be uninformed. You know that when you were heathen, you were led astray to dumb idols, however you may have been moved. Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking by the Spirit of God ever says "Jesus be cursed!" and no one can say "Jesus is Lord" except by the Holy Spirit. Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of working, but it is the same God who inspires them all in every one.
      — From St. Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, chapters 11:31-34; 12:1-6,
      from today's Orthodox lectionary readings.
      See the homiletical thought below. «

      Today's diary - life in Northern Ireland

      Bill Stainsby, founder of the C.S. Lewis Faith and Culture Center in Donegal, left, and the Rev. Jack Lamb, right, joined me for supper at a restaurant overlooking the River Foyle in Derry last Tuesday evening.
      Today is mostly sunny in Belfast.
      This evening, Jack and another friend plan to attend a program commemorating the centennial of the beginning of World War I at St. Anne's Cathedral, downtown Belfast. The Duke of York, also known as Prince Andrew, second son of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip, will be in attendance, so downtown security is tighter than usual today. «
      A closer look
      Links to news, features, and opinion pieces. See Caveat, below.
      World War I began 100 years ago today; BBC marks it with updating posts
      Saudi King Abdullah publicly blames Hamas for the Israeli-Gaza war
      Report: Despite the pope's example, US archbishops live in opulence
      Christians killed in Nigeria through June at 91% of 2013’s total
      Angry protesters slam Hillary Clinton in current hometown, Chappaqua
      Author: Bill Clinton is a 'classic narcissist always faithful [only] to himself'
      Convert, pay or die: Iraqi Christians flee Mosul after Islamic State ultimatum
      CT review: Guardians of the Galaxy without a doubt the
      weirdest Marvel movie yet, but that's mostly a good thing
      Video: Why Orthodox call the Virgin Mary Theotokos, Mother of God
      Christian worldview
      (This department alternates with Writing stuff)

      Time for another "apophatic theology" meme.

      Happiness is much too over-rated. For one thing, too many fleeting sources of feeling happy turn out to be foundations for long-term and possibly eternal misery. Smoking, for a start, and, as the Bible says, "sins for a season."
      Of course we want to be happy—I'd go so far as to say that desire is a God-given aspect of our humanness—but thinking Christians must differentiate between immediate gratification or pacification and lifelong contentment—happiness—by finding, knowing, and living for the One real reason for life and living meaningfully. «
      Today's video
      Something totally different, take deux
      Today's quotes
      The sense of futility is one of the greatest evils of the day...People say, "What can one person do? What is the sense of our small effort?" They cannot see that we can only lay one brick at a time, take one step at a time; we can be responsible only for the one action of the present moment. But we can beg for an increase of love in our hearts that will vitalize and transform all our individual actions, and know that God will take them and multiply them, as Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes.
      — Dorothy Day  «
      Man likes to count only his troubles; he doesn't calculate his happiness.
      — Fyodor Dostoyevsky «
      He wants them to learn to walk and must therefore take away His hand.
      — C.S. Lewis «
      Homiletical thought: If we judged ourselves properly, God would not have to judge us. But we cannot judge ourselves perfectly, always being inclined to give ourselves some slack or judge our motives as pure even if our actions are anything but, so the best course is to be more and more self-conscious of our trespasses and shortcomings, our misses of the mark that is, as Fr. Stephen reminded us in a recent blog, a moving target. Do you find yourself more conscious of your sins as time goes by? That seldom describes me. And if you're with me in this, we have to pray for more light, more awareness of our level of self-satisfaction and self-delusion. «
      §     §     §
      Jon R. Kennedy, C. S. Lewis Writer in Residence