The monthly theme at my church for March is Joy. What to do with joy? With happiness? With Fun? There’s a lot to take into consideration when presenting joy as your spiritual theme, not the least of which is that depression is an epidemic in our society. Anything that encourages people to just look on the bright side, cheer up, change their attitude or other similar things won’t cut it. Beyond depression, the weakness of prosperity theology of any stripe needs to be avoided as does The Secret’s approach to the “power of intention.” There’s also the state of the world to consider with a lot of legitimate things to drag anyone down any given day such as racism in America fifty years past Selma, religious fundamentalists trying to legalize homophobia, the critical state of our environment, and the widening gap between the haves and the have nots. The list goes on and it’s oppressive. Our culture also seems to make an idol of happiness with “the pursuit of happiness” being so written upon our societal DNA that something’s wrong with you if you are not happy. So what did I come up with to introduce joy?
Silly String. Yup, Silly String…and the Muppets.
This past Tuesday some conservative Texas state lawmakers joined by the Lt. Governor of Texas and other conservative leaders held a ceremonial cake cutting celebrating the 10th anniversary of legislation outlawing gay marriage in Texas. The cake cutter was Texas State Representative Cecil Bell, who has proposed a law that “would withhold pay from government employees who conspire in the issuance of a same-sex marriage license.” In essence Rep. Bell wants to criminalize having a caring heart and doing the right thing. But that’s Texas…it’s elected officials want to live in a world where people are only allowed to be exactly like them: white, straight, and fundamentalist Christian. Dan, Patrick, the Lt. Governor of Texas, addressed the hateful cake cutters and media encouraging Texans to rally to the defense of “traditional marriage.”
It’s happening again today. I’m busy. There’s a lot on my plate, I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed, and under a lot of pressure to get things done NOW. Checking things off my to-do list immediately is not scratching through them quickly enough. I’ve felt overly anxious about getting things done a couple of other days in the past few weeks and now that the feeling is back this morning, I am convinced I know where it’s coming from: the execution of Donald Newbury tonight at 6 p.m. here in Huntsville, TX.