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Posts Tagged ‘Sunday in Ft Lauderdale’

We had 15 guys at MCC this past Sunday. We occupied two full pews, up front on the left side. The sermon this Sunday was about Joy vs Happiness.

“Let us not confuse joy with happiness. We deserve to be happy and we tend to thrive better when we are happy. When we are happy, we treat others better, we believe in ourselves more, we don’t begrudge others their good fortune, we tend to be kinder and more generous. Happiness is wonderful and I wish you lots of it.

Happiness is a condition, and like all conditions, comes and goes. But joy is a state of being that isn’t dependent on what is happening to or around us.

George Bernard Shaw said this about joy: “This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of Nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.”

Saint Oprah says that joy is “a sustained sense of well-being and internal peace, a connection to what matters.”

Don’t be surprised if you see Joy vs Happiness come up as a future topic.

-Steve

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We got a good turnout at MCC this morning, but I was late because I got a little distracted by the yard sale across the street. Let me tell you, I got some great deals.

But the message this morning was right-on. Here are the parts I especially liked:

We tend to project onto others what we really believe about ourselves; which is why theologian Howard Thurman said “every judgment is a self-judgment.” Or as one thinker put it, “We are never more discontented with others than we are with ourselves” (Henri Frederic Arnier).

When we are unkind or unfair, that is a reflection of our own insecurities and self-doubts, just as when people are unkind or unfair to us, that is much more about them than about us. To change our unattractive habits, we must recognize them for the errors they are, and then develop new habits of appreciating and loving ourselves; as we learn to love ourselves more, love is what we will more often transfer onto others, and love is what we more often will attract.

Now, let’s be real for a minute. To have peace within, we have to stop looking for, creating, and perpetuating conflict. Our schools, our businesses, our government, our relationships, our churches…the level of perpetual fault finding, complaining and attacking has reached toxic levels in our society. We can’t fix the world, but we can work on us and show the world what is possible. We have to break the habit of complaining; we have to move beyond pessimism and perpetual unhappiness. Those are only habits, and habits can be broken and replaced with new habits. This new season of a new liturgical year is a perfect time to embrace a new way of thinking and speaking and relating…it’s a perfect time to embrace a more peaceful way of being. I need that; maybe you do too.

If we think of P.E.A.C.E. as meaning People Everywhere Are Created Equal, then we’ll see our mission as affirming that message and sharing it boldly and indefatigably. That’s why we marched on Wilton Drive on World AIDS Day…people living with HIV are created equal to everyone else and they need to know that. That’s why we continue to hope for, work for, and demand marriage equality. That’s why we confront racism and sexism, even in our own community and even in our own hearts. People Everywhere Are Created Equal; we need to believe that about ourselves, and we need to believe that about all people.

Gays and Lesbians, Heterosexuals and Bisexuals, Transgender folk and Muslims and Jews and Christians and Hindus and Agnostics and Buddhists, people from every nation, men and women, People Everywhere Are Created Equal.

Another point made during the sermon that I liked, was to remember to keep the main thing the main thing. How many times I forget that!!!

Have a Happy Sunday

-Steve

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Progressive Positive Practical

I go to the MCC church for many reasons. There is the social aspect, a place to go on Sunday morning to be with friends I like very much.

I go for the music. The music is diverse and fantastic every Sunday, although some Sundays are better than others. Today was one of those Sundays when the music was absolutely Spectacular. Elena Correia performed an aria from La Traviatta that was outstanding and received a standing ovation.

But mostly I go for the message. Spirituality is a cofactor integral to my health. I could get spirituality at any number of the gay-friendly progressive churches. But the sermon today is why I go to the MCC.

The Reverend Durrell Watkins is an HIV Pozitive Gay man, just like me. His sermon today was titled The Magic of a Grateful Heart. This is what moved me:

“I’ve seen people survive amazingly difficult health challenges, seemingly because they were more grateful for the possibilities that existed than they were discouraged by the disease, or they were more grateful for the medical treatments available to them than they were troubled by their discomfort, or they were more grateful for one more day of life than they were afraid of an uncertain future. The power of gratitude sustained them and sometimes transformed their experience.

I’ve even known people who were grateful for their disease, because they said it helped them wake up, to know what mattered, to be more present to the people in their lives, and even to take better care of themselves. Whether or not the disease shortened their lives, it did cause them to be more mindful, more loving, more grateful, more intentional, and therefore more alive for as long as they lived. Gratitude can work miracles.
……Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone. Feel it and express it. Express it with your words, your actions, your giving. Release the power of gratitude by expressing it”

Let me restate my first paragraph. I go to the MCC church for many reasons. There is the social aspect, a place to go on Sunday morning to be with friends I love very much.

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