The influence of affluence
Can money really buy happiness?
Those who believe the Bible have long been instructed to store up their
treasures in heaven, but what about those who have no such biblical
foundations? Can money and possessions make them happy?
According to current research, summerized by The New York Times,
the answer is no.
Over the last few years, psychological researchers have been gathering an
impressive body of data suggesting that satisfaction is not tied to wealth at
all. According to the studies, not only does having more things prove to be
unfulfilling, but people who pursue affluence have a tendency to be more
anxious and depressed and have a lower overall level of well-being.
Dr. Richard Ryan of the University of Rochester, for example, discovered
that "the more we seek satisfactions in material goods, the less we find them
there. The satisfaction has a short half-life; it's very fleeting."
Source: "In pursuit of affluence, at a high price," by Alfie Kohn, The
New York Times, February 2, 1999.
You don't say!
"A thousand Canadian churches on mission is not impossible for God. God can
do big things. If you long to see the big things of God, but you haven't seen
the little things, then that should tell you it's time to take a rest and be
alone with God."
-- Henry Blackaby, author of Experiencing God
Source: June 28, 1999, from a presentation during On Mission '99 in
which Blackaby addressed the need to start 1,000 new churches in Canada.
Currently, 89.2 percent of Canadians are unchurched according to statistics
from Outreach Canada.
AS THE ANCHOR HOLDS?
According to author and futurologist Faith Popcorn, the newest trend
society will be what she calls anchoring.
"We're feeling very, very unsure, and that's edging us into a wonderful
trend called anchoring. And anchoring is a trend about spirituality," she
Simply put, anchoring is about cocooning from the "Atmos-FEAR" that is
generated by the "pre-millennial shakes" and about trying to put your faith in
something "safe and secure to grab onto."
"What can we believe in anymore? You can't … believe in the government,
can't believe in the air, can't believe in the water. And that's getting us
into … the armored cocoon," she says. That leads to isolation.
Ray Schroeder writes of this trend: "At home many of us isolate ourselves
from other family members, focusing on the TV, the stereo or surfing the
Internet. The church--which is about community and caring for one
another--should have something to say about the loneliness of technology… If a
few hours a week of online computer usage increases feelings of loneliness and
depression, could just a few hours a week of visiting in homes increase
feelings of real connectedness and well-being? …"
Sources: NBC News Transcripts, December 30, 1998; "Making religion
relevant," by Ray Schroeder, The Christian Science Monitor, December
Students grade their churches
Every day churches all over North America are hard at work trying to be a
light in their communities and cities, but how well are they doing?
Not bad, according to the Christian students polled at Southern Baptist
summer youth conferences in 1997.
Students were asked the question: "Do you think your church does enough to
positively influence its surrounding community?"
Forty-two percent gave their churches low marks, saying that no, their
churches weren't doing enough. But the majority of students--57 percent--gave
their churches high marks, and said that yes, they were doing a good job
influencing their communities and cities.
Source: 1997 Youth Survey, LifeWay Christian Resources.
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