Thursday, April 05, 2007


I’m currently pondering this question concerning the phrase; the joy of the Lord is my strength. Is there really any other kind? I feel like I have been told for years that there is a difference, and have just assumed that being joyful in the Lord was some kind of state one should attain by “appropriation” of some sort of right formula of scripture memory, self denial and church attendance. I’m not doing much of any right now and am feeling more filled with joy than any time I can remember. Is my happiness the wrong type? I’d like to think that if “all truth is God’s truth,” then all joy should also be the Lord’s. If the rain falls on the just and the unjust, then does it matter if that rainfall is a gentle spring shower or a punishing deluge? Both experience it, regardless of any kind of relationship with God. So if listening to the rain, or watching a sunset (or any other form of beauty) makes me, a person of faith, and an atheist happy, is that joy somehow different for him than it is me? Same with the birth of a baby, or a sweet reunion, or a moving song, or a fascinating meal, or a long walk with a dear friend. Is this joy the Lord’s, too? I place the blame on my confusion of my past way of thinking. I used to try and divide everything into a sacred/secular category. You had your Christian friends, and then you had the ones you were trying to witness to. There was “Christian” music, and then there was “secular.” No matter if one was nicer and more kind, or technically and artistically better than the other. The former was somehow sanctioned, while the latter was not. Today I worry less about these little categories, because now that I see they were created to try and limit me and keep me safe. Thanks for your concern, Whoever Led Me to Think This Way, but I find that I now trust in bigger parameters to keep me in check. I’m moving on now. Beginning my day with faith, hope and love seems to lead me to better places.


glenn said...


I have struggled with the same things and have come to the same conclusions.

The old way: Earning and doing.

The new way: Receiving and being.

The Bible doesn't say that God so loved the church, but the world. He is active in the world and in the hearts and minds of all kinds of people in all kinds of ways.

It has been called deconstructing and reconstructing our theology and ecclesiology. I just call it living!

I would recommend, Jim Palmer's, "Divine Nobodies." He is someone who went through the same type of thing.

Boyd said...

Shinn - Interesting this road now travelling. We just googled and found your blog and interview. I love hearing your voice again. My favorite part was in the interview where you mentioned trusting your ideas & creativity again. It's time. breadU sounds like a perfect fit.

On the joy side. I'm with you, it's not the life well-disciplined that brings joy rather living who we are made to be. Breathing grace ... in and out.

I'm now part time paid guy and loving it. The other part building my own version of business, Churchteams. My way of serving the kingdom. My way of using the Internet to put all the admin stuff of church in its place. For too long it has taken too much energy and priority.

Keep talking.

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