Paul L. Caron

Sunday, May 8, 2022

NY Times Op-Ed: How To Cultivate Joy Even When It Feels In Short Supply

New York Times Op-Ed:  How to Cultivate Joy Even When It Feels in Short Supply, by Tish Harrison Warren (Priest, Anglican Church; Author, Prayer in the Night: For Those Who Work or Watch or Weep (2021) (Christianity Today's 2022 Book of the Year)):

Warren 3In the Bible, there’s a question that Paul asks in his letter to the Galatian church that has haunted me for the last couple of years: What has happened to all your joy?

I don’t think that many people looking at the church in America today or at broader American society would say, “Now, there is a group of people marked by joy.”

In a 2020 survey, happiness and well-being among Americans reached a 50-year low. But it’s a deeper issue than just that. Joy is hardier and sturdier than mere happiness or positive circumstances, closer in meaning to contentment than amusement. The current state of our cultural discourse seems to be joylessness writ large. ...

Our culture desperately needs to rethink and rediscover joy. ...

How can I possibly cultivate joy? ... There will inevitably be traffic jams and illnesses, afternoons when I feel grumpy or mornings that I don’t want to get out of bed. But joy can be taken up, even when things aren’t going great. “Joy is both a gift and a practice,” I wrote in my last book, “but it isn’t primarily a feeling any more than self-control or faithfulness are feelings. It is a muscle we can strengthen with exercise.” ...

Joy taps into our deepest sense of meaning, which requires intentional connection to community and to beauty and goodness in the analog world. ...

For Christians, joy has deep roots. It springs from the hope that Jesus is risen and is making all things new. Easter is a season of joy not because we insist that the glass is half-full but because Jesus himself, the Bible says in Ephesians, “fills everything in every way.” This means that death is real, but there’s something greater than death. Injustice is real, but it’s not the end of the story. Heartbreak is real but it gives way to redemption. Suffering is real, but it cannot erase beauty.

Other New York Times op-eds by Tish Harrison Warren:

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