2. In the Protestant West today, smiling has become a moral imperative....
3. The motif of late-capitalist society is the stylisation of happiness, the cultivation of lifestyles from which every trace of sadness has been expunged... Our cultural obsession with health, happiness, and positive thinking is a secularisation of the evangelical church service.
4. The cultural triumph of the smile leaves behind a trail of casualties. Where evangelical churches theologise happiness and ritualise the smile, sad believers are spiritually ostracised....
Pretty provocative and onto something with which many of you will know I resonate. Head on over there and read it in its entirety and let me know what you think. Here is the comment that I left:
"This is a fantastic piece with its finger on an important truth, pointing quite piercingly in a number of appropriate directions.
When I was interviewed for ordination I expressed my passion for theology and the church with a certain melancholy seriousness and one of the interviewers accused me of not really seeming very passionate at all. I did not go into the etymology of 'passion', but kind of wish I would have.
Anyway, thanks for this. Despite my deep resonance with it, however, I do agree with some of the above recollections of joy. I am reminded of Chesterton's adage that today's priest, as the bearer of news that is good, might be needed not so much to remind the world that it is on the road to death but that it is not dead yet. But joy and 'happiness' are not the same thing."