And all the happy people are saying: "This is EXACTLY what an unhappy person would say!"
Well… not quite. I am smirking a little bit here.
The plethora of how to be happy, how to achieve happiness, how to believe that your happiness is the most important thing in your life, and how unhappiness is your own damn fault (or someone else's fault) have bloated social media. It's not that I disagree with what some of the messages have to say; it's more that there is so much of it, I can't swallow it anymore. It's shallow, predictable, unfulfilling, untruthful at times, and even unjust to the marginalized. Sometimes it reeks of privilege, and at other times it's so bland that it reeks of nothing at all.
I'm not against happiness or being happy.
The Happiness Fetish Movement isn't even the core of this post, to be honest.
The constant barrage of commentary — live-streaming, tweeting, opining, Facebooking — has ballooned me up to the point where it hurts to read just one more blog about… you name it. In terms of Christianity, many battles related to The Culture Wars are fought online. We find our favourite authors, theologians and commentators, re-post, re-blog, re-peat. We have 'robust debate', find some satisfaction in making some connection, but also divide and conquer.
This sense of "too much focus" has been sitting in me for quite some time now. I haven't blogged, read books, or even posted gratitudes. Posting my personal gratitudes online repeatedly sometimes gets invasive. I need to back away. I don't believe offering thanks draws thanks (the whole laws of attraction thing being quite offensive to me, hurting people more than it helps), but there I go again… commenting on something I can just walk away from.
I need a de-tox.
Are you a Progressive Christian or a Fundie?
Are you affirming or non-affirming of LGBTQ people?
Are you still a Christian even if you don't believe X, Y & Z? (Are you still a Christian if you DO?)
Are you a young earth creationist or theistic evolutionist (or…."__")?
Are you happy with your life? If not, here's how!
Are you like the happy person next to you? If not, here's how!
Are you a Bible-believing Christian or someone entirely different?
The Gospel Coalition posts something about women or the gay community; progressives react.
Progressives post something about the gay community or science; John MacArthur or Ken Ham react.
(yes, I understand that name-dropping is a tad uncouth; I'm only posting references to recent actual events).
"Believe this way!"
"Believe that way!"
"Don't believe *that* way! It's wrong!"
"Don't believe *this* way! It's wrong!"
And the response of: "Speak your truth" becomes all the more insufficient because it seems to me that instead of creating community, we've simply become a group of bobbing heads accepting whatever comes, with no substance beneath us. In reaction to the rigid "accept nothing" stance, the "accept everything" stance is just as damaging.
Be your own happy. Screw everyone else. You are the most important person to you.
No wonder we need a slosh of happiness articles to prove our happiness. We are still a very unhappy people. Granted some are more unhappy than others; some have a delicious propensity towards sunshine and thank God for them. Without the world's Pollyannas, we'd be doomed.
I don't think we're searching for happiness so much as we're searching for rest.
We need a break. A BIG FAT BREAK.
Good, bad or ugly, we need a break from the world's answers to our brokenness. We need to sleep. We need to dream fanciful dreams that fade away from us upon waking. We need silence. We need darkness.
Wow… and suddenly I just turned from someone needing the break into someone declaring how we all need the same thing. In the course of a few sentences I've become what's been frustrating me the most.
I came to work this morning, excited that I had tried this new lunch truck open in town. The food is amazing! Handmade burger patty with bacon jam, apple/celery slaw & smoke cheddar… mouth-watering! I shared my enthusiasm with a co-worker and she hardly gave me a glance. She said it sounded good but now that she knows who owns this lunch truck, she will never give it any service.
I walked back to my office and cried.
Tired. Worn out. Exhausted.
This town has such beefs against each other. We take sides, boycott, slam, gossip and malign. We claim we're diverse, happy and inclusive, but underneath… we won't even go to a little lunch truch because we don't like someone working there.
Tired. Worn out. Exhausted.
I don't want incredible movements of social justice to stop.
I don't want powerful expressions of spirituality to stop.
I don't even want 'robust debate' to stop (although some firmer committment to positive communication could help this area a good deal).
What do I need rest from?
1. The constant pulling from all sides of Christianity to take stands against people, denominations and movements. I'm not saying we become silent or give up. I'm just asking for a break.
2. The local negativity that presents itself as happy and mutually respectful but deep down harbours resentment. How am I supposed to believe you're for reconciliation when you slam someone based on gossip?
3. This fetish of happiness that promises all sorts of freeing journeys if we only "—". Empty promises. Happiness isn't impossible, but it's certainly not some kind of life epitome. Quit promising what is false, and quit presenting happiness as the pinnacle of living. If that's all there is to life, I'm out.
Anyone else get burned out on all the answers out there.
I can't be the only one can I?