Tag Archives: community

the Pursuit of Happiness

I read an interesting article a few weeks ago.  (Time Magazine, July 8-15 issue, pg 38+)  It was about what the Founding Fathers, specifically Jefferson, had in mind when he penned “…the pursuit of happiness” into the Declaration of Independence.  I am sure those of you who paid attention in US History class in high school are quite aware of what the word happiness meant to them, but this discovery was eye-opening and discouraging to me.

Aristotle and the Greeks had a strong impact on these leaders who declared their independence.  The Greeks believed people found meaning in their relationships with other human beings.  In fact, the Greek word for happiness, eudaimonia, was associated with good conduct and generous citizenship.  Thus, those who first read Jefferson’s words “the pursuit of happiness” interpreted it to mean “the pursuit of the good for the whole” because to them the good of the whole was critical to the good of the individual.  Another way to think of it is “the pursuit of individual excellence that shapes the life of a broader community”.

The idea that I am not the central focus of the “pursuit of happiness” sounds crazy.  Happiness, in this culture, is about more possessions, feeling good, power, and living extravagant lifestyles.  Yet that isn’t what Jefferson had in mind.  His pursuit of happiness does not free me to do whatever I want because it gives me immediate pleasure.  It does not excuse me to take the easy way because the right way is difficult.  It isn’t just about me.

It’s about loving one another.  It’s about doing good when good is hard.   It’s giving grace to people who I don’t really like because I count on grace from others every day.  It’s pitching into an activity that’s good for the community even if I don’t see how it’s going to help me.  It’s putting aside temporary feeling to gain long-term positive results.

There is nothing wrong with personal happiness, and there is certainly personal responsibility involved in happiness.  However, to what ends will I go to achieve it?  Who must weep so I can laugh?

2 Comments

Filed under Inside Phipps

The Pursuit Of His Calling

by Dr. Florence Muindi – a brief excerpt

Cardinal signs of transformational ministry:

  • training trainers – not directly giving services unless it is to demonstrate or break into new areas
  • church-based partnerships at the church level
  • Empowering –  giving only what they need, coming alongside what they have, and taking them to the next level.
  • Building dignity by doing it with them, not for them or even to show them.
  • Bringing deliverance by breaking the bondage through: advocacy, education, skill development, economic empowerment, changed behavior, and spiritual maturity.
  • Planning a phase out strategy from the beginning.
  • Marked by fruit after fruit rather than a one-time harvest.  Planting fruit bearing plants (disciple makers) not just seasonal plants (followers).
  • The community is self-replenishing and not dependant on us, an external source, or technology.
  • It is bathed in prayer, guided of God for his glory.
  • Giving of our lives, not just our service.

How can we tell if we have empowered for transformation?  It is in place when:

  • We can take risks in delegating.  For example, come to the point where we can say to our national partners – these are guests from my main supporting church.  I will leave them with you for two days for you to show them our ministry.
  • When we can take a year of furlough and do not need a replacement, and even if we are going back, we do not plan to go back to the same tasks.
  • When to our surprise we realize that the local ministry has moved to the next level and has forgotten to inform us much less to consult us or ask permission.
  • The systems for accountability are in national’s hands and you are subject to those systems.

We are failing if, after three to five years in the field, we cannot:

  1. comfortably have national teams run the show.
  2. relocate to a new area.
  3. take another role in the organization.
  4. open doors for other s to partner.

Leave a comment

Filed under Be Like Jesus