“Virtue is what happens when someone has made a thousand small choices requiring effort and concentration to do something which is good and right, but which doesn’t come naturally. And then, on the thousand and first time, when it really matters, they find that they do what’s required automatically. Virtue is what happens when wise and courageous choices become second nature.” – N.T. Wright
I got the quote from an article in Christianity Today Magazine titled “Can You Control Yourself“. It was worth the read, and you might find it interesting, although it may take a subscription to read it.
The following excerpts are taken from You Are What You Love – The Spiritual Power of Habit by James K. A. Smith.
Our actions and behavior – indeed, a whole way of life – are pulled out of us by this attraction to some vision of the good life.
If our loves can be disordered by secular liturgies, it’s also true that our loves need to be reordered (recalibrated) by counter liturgies – embodied, communal practices that are “loaded” with the gospel and indexed to God and his kingdom.
From the book Happiness by Randy Alcorn in the chapter titled We Find Lasting Happiness in God: A Closer Look at the Hebrew Word Asher. It is not as dry as it sounds!
Those who worship the Lord and obey his commands are happy.
People who live by God’s wisdom are happy.
People who turn to God and partake of him are happy.
God’s redeemed are happy people.
Those pardoned by God are happy.
God promises happiness for righteous acts and attitudes.
Those who are kind to the needy find happiness.
Happy people follow the spiritual guidance of their godly parents.
Those who know the one true God are a happy people.
Below are some good quotes about communal living in a counter cultural way from the article The Idea of a Christian Village by Rod Dreher from Christianity Today Magazine. And while I found them helpful, I was thinking about how sometimes it is hard to find people to live communally with you. You cannot do it by yourself! But one thing you can do is commit to being community toward other people. For some that is easy as they extend friendship easily. For others of us it is harder either due to being introverts or to our social laziness. But the commitment should be for us to involve ourselves in the lives (in the best way) of our fellow Christians, walking out our faith and our struggles with one another.
Traditional, historic Christianity—whether Catholic, Protestant, or Eastern Orthodox—ought to be a powerful counterforce to the radical individualism and secularism of modernity.
We seemed content to be the chaplaincy to a consumerist culture that was fast losing a sense of what it meant to be Christian.
There’s something weird when none of the communal parts of your life are overtly Christian.
. . . you may visit your house of worship only once a week, but what happens there in worship, and the community and the culture it creates, must be the things around which you order the rest of the week.
And this is a good quote from the morning.
Nazi death camp survivor Viktor E. Frankl (1905– 1997) wrote, “Happiness [is] the unintended side-effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself.”[ 10] This explains why so many of us aren’t happy — we’re our own biggest cause, the most important people in our lives. And we’re way too small and powerless to create or sustain our own happiness.
Alcorn, Randy (2015-09-17). Happiness (p. 172). Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
Studies show that more people feel bad than good after using social media; photos and updates of everyone else having a great time leave observers feeling left out — like they don’t measure up.
Alcorn, Randy (2015-09-17). Happiness . Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
When I read a quote like this I wonder, as an active user of many types of social media including a blog that is basically about myself, if I am a part of the problem or a victim of it.