The list

I recently followed a link to The Happiness Project. As 'advice' blogs go it's okay, but I was curious about the "Wednesday is tip day" section. Some of the tips listed are quite useful... while some are useless platitudes that sound great but make no sense when considered thoughtfully. What made me curious, though, is why blogs like these are so popular. I think it comes down to the fact that we really do want rules. As much as we like to say, "Do whatever you like as long as you are true to yourself and you hurt no one", the fact is that at some level we want to be told what to do. It's somehow safe and comforting to be told, "Do these 12 things and everything will work out okay for you." We need - we embrace - rules. I suppose this is part of the reason that Christianity is so radical for people. Despite the popular idea of Christianity, it's not about rules at all. Humanity tried living by a list and we failed miserably at it; following Jesus is about HIM following the rules and doing the right thing. And it's hard... in some ways it would be easier if we had a list. "Okay, do these 5 things and you'll get to heaven. Just tick them off as they're completed and then you'll be alright." Instead, we hear "Hate your family. Love your enemies. Follow me even when it's hard. Surrender your control. Be despised by the world." I admit, a part of me wants the list... but the other part rejoices that my list contains only one item: "Trust in Jesus". Tick.


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