Happiness is more in our heads than our circumstances. We know people who have what we want who are unhappy. We know people who have been through the worst that life can give who are happy.
The scientific study of prayer focuses on the things for which people most often pray — health concerns, financial difficulties, or societal problems — but the prayers we do not pray are the best evidence that prayer works.
I’m surprised to be at the Comedy Cellar because — and I know how this sounds — I’m a minister. Saying that you’re a minister shuts down conversations with barbers, waitresses and the person sitting next to you on the plane. That last one is helpful.
Reading the obituaries sounds gloomy, but that has not been my experience. Being encouraged to make my days count feels like preparing for Easter.
When Martin Luther wrote, “Love God and sin boldly,” he was not in a fast food restaurant, but he could have been. Luther was inviting us to recognize what is important and what is not. There are times when you should order the salad, but sinning a little without worrying about it too much may, on occasion, be good for your soul.
Churches should see themselves in this movie. The church, like the board of the Post, is tempted to focus on survival. When well-meaning, frightened Christians worry only about the budget, the church ceases to be the church. Institutional Christianity, like a bad newspaper, is organized, conventional and uninteresting.
Religious people have committed terrible acts of violence, but people who feel loved are less likely to hurt others. People who have been taught compassion are less likely to open fire with semi-automatic rifles. Caring for broken people can be scary, but not caring for them can be dangerous, too.
If people are really committed to biblical laws, then they should be committed to all of them. Instead of asking if it should be legal to run a heterosexuals-only bakery, we should ask who else a biblical legalist should turn away. Refusing to make devil’s food cakes for gay couples may not be enough.
When the world is hard, we have to look harder. We are detectives searching for clues. Hope does not shout, but if we listen carefully we hear whispers. Hopeful things are happening, but we have to pay attention.