Christ "has broken down
the dividing wall. . . . that he might create in himself one new humanity in
place of the two, thus making peace, and might reconcile both groups to God in
one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it."
Happiness and the Christian Moral Life: An Introduction to Christian Ethics
It was the last concert of the season. From my seat I could see the hands of the young Israeli pianist as she played Edvard Grieg’s piano concerto. The guest conductor was a Norwegian (like Grieg himself). The rest of the orchestra included Asians, African Americans and Anglos. Ah, I thought, music does bring people together!Then I was struck by another thought: my own field, theology, tends to drive people apart. In fact, it’s mostly intended to divide people. What is wrong with this picture? What is wrong is that in the apparently innocent effort to arrive at truth, theology inculcates pride, the very vice that Christians claim is the consummate sin.
Americans are obsessed with happiness. We are bombarded daily with images of things that promise at least temporary happiness—whether it’s a laundry detergent, a gourmet meal, an exotic vacation or a sexual triumph. Meanwhile, social scientists study whether we feel happy, and if not, why not.