The Joy In Righteousness

The other night I was walking back to my car and I heard dance music thumping out of a club. It was a song I had never heard before but I recognized the beat, the rhythm. The door of the club opened and voices sprang out, the bustling echo of strangers meeting for a night, probably never again.

I stopped at my car. This was life another lifetime ago, weeks on end of cheap cologne and done up hair and dress shirts and twenty dollar bills. A strange rush of nostalgia swept over me as I remembered nights of mindless grinding on a dirty dance floor and introducing myself to people I’d never remember, sweating all over and not caring.

I couldn’t help but laugh in that parking lot about all those stupid friends doing stupid things together. I admit, right then I missed it. My feet almost moved that direction. I was tempted to see what had changed, how it was now, if I could slide back into the frantic madness of that scene. I got in the car and told myself, I’ve moved onto a better thing, but I wondered if I really believed that. I wondered if by having chosen this new life I was missing out on something.

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Are Christians Allowed To Be Happy?

To the world, Christians largely appear like morose, morbid, head-hanging, downcast, guilt-ridden sheep come in from the rain. Some Christians are convinced of this too, that the progressing Christian must continually remain under the devastating knowledge of sin. So mostly the informed Christian spends his time crying, thrashing, beating himself up, shaking his head profusely, avoiding with great panic all sorts of situations that are probably harmless.

Preachers speak about “joy” but this appears an elusive concept, or at very best a far different thing than happiness. They say joy is permanent, happiness is fleeting; joy is reliable, happiness is unstable; joy is real, happiness is a delusion. But shouldn’t a Christian safely be able to say “I am happy” without any sense of irony or guilt? Can’t a Christian, without fear of theological rebuke, proudly proclaim, “I’ve found happiness” . . . ?

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