Source: Sherman Publications

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Spiritual Matters
The pursuit of happiness?

August 28, 2013

We live in a time when many of the cultural values are up for discussion and debate.

Many people want to redefine the values of our society to fit the times, and often the values of the past only seem like a hindrance to modern thoughts of fairness and values.

Ingrained in every motivation for Americans is a motivation to seek after happiness; it's even included in the bill of rights, but do we all have a right to "the pursuit of happiness?"

What if our pursuit has an impact on the greater society? Should the desires of the individual dictate the rules of society as a whole if it is the only means one has to pursue after happiness?

These questions are before the nation, and the modern thought is: whatever the individual wants to pursue should be ok for them. The one stipulation that most agree on is, …unless that pursuit causes an intrusion to the pursuit of another person's fulfillment.

Often, what is lost in this discussion is the well-being of the greater society, and how an individual's actions can have a major impact without us really accounting for it. This has led to the great debate and conflict for the soul of our nation. Is it possible, or even desirable, for a society to try and be a collection of many parts, with each part seeking their own identity and values that must be accepted or imposed on the whole?

This has become the major point of discussion, as modernists argue that the greater society has a responsibility to allow freedom of expression to each component of the society.

This debate has only intensified the breakdown of our society into many opposing groups, because every person's individual pursuit will eventually come into conflict with someone else's.

I believe that the Christian church must be an example in these times by fully following the principles the Word of God established for the church. The Bible says that the church must be seen as the Body of Christ.

As a body, the Word declares that we need to see how every body needs many diverse parts. Each part of the body is unique and has a contribution to make. If we were all eyes, how would we be able to hear? If we were all ears, how could we see? We are encouraged to be different and appreciate our individual contribution, but we are also encouraged to see our need for the other parts of the body.

Although each part of the body needs the freedom for expression and function, this can never be independent of the needs of others!

We are each made to be a part of something bigger than ourselves, and we must recognize the need for the health of the whole in order for each part to function and be in health. An eye was not created for its own ability to see, but for the body to see—and this is true of every part of the body.

When God created man, He stopped and made a correction to the creation. I am sure that the all-knowing God did not stop to correct Himself, but did so in order to make a point for all of us throughout history.

It is not good that man should be alone; He declared that he needs a helper. He created someone the same, but also opposite.

Man was made to be interdependent, not independent. We need to be connected with each other, and with our Creator. As a nation, we need to seek for our expression, but not at the cost of society as a whole.

As Modernists push an agenda of expansive personal expression, we need to be ready to confront self-centered motivations that hinder contributions to something bigger than ourselves.

The Rev. Loren Covarrubias is pastor of Mt. Zion Church.