Reordering Loves, Organizing Attitudes, Being Happy

An organized attitude, scholé, and ordo amoris are all tightly connected, at least in my mind. The threads are coming together in the book Reordered Love, Reordered Lives: Learning the Deep Meaning of Happiness which I purchased and began chiefly on the strength of the title. Of course I checked out the author and a few reviews, but the title had me. I’ve not been disappointed.

Virtue is Happiness

Virtue is my word of the year for 2015, and it popped back up in this book.

happy

We tend to think of happiness as a mere feeling, something nice but unnecessary, something transient and superficial. However, happiness has always been a topic of deep interest to philosophers, and there is a long Christian tradition of both what happiness truly is and also how important it is.

Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Pascal, Lewis – all agree that what people are searching for is happiness. And that is not a sinful search, but a proper one. We were created to live in perfect harmony and happiness with God and man, and we long for what we have lost in the Fall. Thus, only God satisfies the search for happiness, a search we should all make because it does lead us to God:

Happiness is the condition of genuine human fulfillment and flourishing rooted in a relationship with God, whose mercy and grace demonstrated in Jesus Christ reorders our loves and lives in righteousness and virtuous ways so that we are able to enjoy – indeed, to relish – all aspects of life and creation appropriately in Him.

We were made to flourish, to be happy in Him, and as John Piper likes to point out, happiness is part of obedience.

[The Christian faith] encourages believing people to discover what it means to be fully and truly human, to live exuberantly and fruitfully as God’s creatures abiding in God’s creation that was, and is, very good.

It is not simply that happiness is required of us – a grateful heart delights to obey – but happiness is also the fruit of obedience. Naugle, in contrasting Edenic and Hedonistic visions of happiness, points out six ingredients of God’s original blessing of a happy life in Eden:

  • obedience
  • fulfilling work
  • companionship
  • free enjoyment of food
  • rest & play
  • beautiful surroundings

These six conditions, six provisions, composed human life before the fall.

To the extent that we can develop all six in our lives (and our homeschools, for that matter), we will find true happiness.

Bear with this quote by Augustine, on rightly ordering right loves for virtue and thereby happiness:

But the title happy cannot belong either 1) to him who has not what he loves, whatever it may be, or 2) to him who has what he loves it is is hurtful, or 3) to him who does not love what he has, although it is good […] I find, then, a fourth case, where the happy life exists: when that which is man’s chief good is both loved and possessed.

Thus, let us seek our chief good, which is, of course, to glorify God.

It is a Christian duty, as you know, for everyone to be as happy as he can. –C.S. Lewis

My Book Bag

It turns out that at this point in my life, keeping up with 5 books is unreasonable. So I’ve adopted the “Mother Culture” pattern of having 3: 1 hard, 1 normal, and 1 easy. To that, I add an audiobook, of course. :)

I just finished The No-S Diet book. I’ve tried it off and on but never been consistent with it. However, if ever there was a simple, common sense approach, this one is it. You don’t have to have the book, it’s all on his site for free.

Next up for light reading I need a novel. I just finished Scent of Water – any suggestions?

Get more great quotes & recommendations at ladydusk’s Wednesday with Words!

12 Responses

  1. Corena Stacy
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    A novel I loved so much I want to give it to every woman I know is Journey to the Well by Diana Wallis Taylor, it is a fictional back story to the Samaritan woman at the well. It touched me and inspired me, and taught me more about the Samaritans and who they were. Or at least inspired me to find out more about them.

  2. Heather
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    Another book to read- adding it to my list!!! :)

  3. Jessica Perteet
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    I loved The Scent of Water, much better than Pilgrim’s Inn which I finished last month. Right now I am reading The Harvester by Gene Stratton Porter and am enjoying it. I will have to put that book on my to read list. Do you ever put books on your interval plan list?

    • Mystie Winckler
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      I did put books on my interval plan for awhile, but found it unnecessary. Perhaps if I was having a hard time finishing a book I really wanted to finish, I’d make completing it that interval a goal.

      Though, tracking what books I read in an interval would probably be a good idea…

  4. Carol
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    Mystie, a light read suggestion – Pied Piper by Nevil Shute.

    • Mystie Winckler
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      Thanks! Our library has that one, so I put it on hold!

  5. Virginia Lee Rogers
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    A lightish read: Tremendous Trifles by G.K Chesterton. I’m reading it now and loving it.

    It’s 31 short essays on ordinary things and how extraordinary they are. Which of course he uses “as a springboard to expound on Christianity, family, democracy, and the like, with supreme clarity and wit.”

    Or P.G. Wodehouse is often good for a light read. If you’d rather have fiction. =)

    • Mystie Winckler
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      Oh, I love both Chesterton and Wodehouse! Thanks! I haven’t heard of that Chesterton title before, and I need to do some seeking out of more Wodehouse… :)

  6. Kathy Weitz
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    Mystie, I love this! Just added Naugle to my reading list. For your light reading, how about a little Dickens? :D

    • Mystie Winckler
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      I love Dickens on audio for the accents. I wonder if I’ll ever finish SWB on audio so I can do Dickens again. :)

  7. Leisa
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    One book that I love as a light read is Freckles by Gene Stratton Porter. I love reading multiple books at a time. It allows me the freedom to always have another book to switch to for whatever mood I am in. However, I have noticed a bit of a problem when I have a light read in the mix, I only want to read the light one. How do you not become overwhelmed just reading the light book??

    • Mystie Winckler
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      Hi Leisa!

      One way I try to overcome that temptation is to only pick up the light reading in the evenings or on the weekend, and reserve some morning or early afternoon time for reading something mind-improving. :)