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wavebreakmedia /

I was among millions across the globe wrapped up in the glee of Pharrel William’s song, “Happy.” I first heard it while watching Despicable Me 2 with my family last year. As the credits rolled I remember making a mental note to add it to my workout playlist.

Pharrel even released a 24-hour video of the song on YouTube for millions to enjoy globally – creating a sort of time released happy capsule that was just a click away.

I thought about how this “Happy” anthem struck a chord in our world’s collective unconscious. “Could it be a sign that all of us, the human family, crave deeper joy and some levity?”

I think faith-based communities can discuss this for years to come at a time where joy is a necessity more than a luxury, and ministers are flaming out quicker than ever, and according to a New York Times article, suffer from depression “at rates higher than most Americans.”

Maintaining a sense of joy is then vital for my own work, especially since I lean toward New York-bred cynicism and incredulity. Activism can be rewarding, yet also extremely discouraging at times. Change can seem incremental at best, and the issues are much bigger than any one person or institution can handle. Making joy a vital ingredient in the active life of faith, within the soul of activity.

I’ve been considering three approaches in cultivating joy, a God-given, buoyant energy, in the midst of some weighty work.

Tom Ehrich 11-12-2013

Riverside Church in New York City. RNS file photo

On a Greenwich Village street where male prostitutes seeking customers shout out their dimensions, I walked past an open but empty church on my way to the subway.

In times past, flocking to church on Sunday morning was a beloved family routine, even here in bad old Gotham. Now they’re trying nontraditional worship on Sunday evenings.

It’s a struggle, both here and elsewhere in the 21st-century Christian world. Buildings with “beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God,” as Luke described the temple in ancient Jerusalem, are falling into disuse and disrepair — not because Caesar attacked and took revenge on an alien religion, but because the world changed and gathering weekly in “Gothic piles” no longer seems necessary for finding faith.

Laughter is Sacred Space: The Not-So-Typical Journey of a Mennonite Actor. Herald Press

the Web Editors 10-20-2011

The Side Effects Of Fast-Tracking Deportations; Ten Percent Of All Major Mainstream Media News Was About Occupy Wall Street Last Week; Mexican Clown Convention Holds 'Laugh For Peace'; What Has Obama Done For Poor People?; Class Warfare In The Senate Race; Restorative Justice And The Economy Of Grace; Pastors Hope For A Louder, Unrestricted Voice In 2012 Election; Jesus At Occupy Wall Street: 'I Feel Like I've Been Here Before'

Jep Hostetler 08-01-2011

How humor can help sustain the work of social justice.

I believe deeply in the power of nonviolence, first as a Christian, and second as one committed to seeing the principles of human dignity, freedom, and justice advanced throughout the world.
John Fleming 11-16-2010

[Editors' Note: Former state trooper James Bonard Fowler plead guilty this week to a misdemeanor manslaughter charge in the 1965 shooting of Jimmie Lee Jackson in Alabama.

Jeannie Choi 10-01-2010
John Perkins. Laughter yoga. A new planet. Here's a little round up of links from around the web you may have missed this week:
Melvin Bray 08-04-2010
One day I'd love to understand why conservatives seem so good at public relations, while liberals, at ridicule.