One of the great joys of summer is reading a good book. I recommend “The Heroine’s Bookshelf: Life Lessons, from Jane Austen to Laura Ingalls Wilder” by Erin Blakemore. Two of the chapters “Happiness” and “Indulgence” explore classic novels, which include female characters finding joy in the midst of the most challenging of circumstances. In the novels, girls bounce around from one orphanage to the next and women are handcuffed by early 20th century sexism. Yet they find ways not only to experience joy, but also transform the worldview of others as well. Do these stories remind you of your own?
This sermon was rescheduled and reframed from when Rev. Kent originally intended to preach it on Father’s Day. Due to the Orlando shootings that Sunday’s message was changed. Today we explore the relationship between technology and living a good life. Computers and screens often increase information, effectiveness and joy. However, they often cloud decision-making, and impede building healthy relationships, and finding calm. A wonderful way to spend summer – or any time – is to turn off our phones and screens for long spaces of time.
Cultivating joy in your life is like cultivating a lush, fruitful garden that you can go to again and again. This morning we will journey together a great distance to rediscover the abode of deep joy and emanate its radiance forth to light the world.
Rev Carolyn Stern lives in Abington with her family. In addition to being a licensed massage therapist, she is an ordained interfaith minister and President of the Diabetes Education and Research Center, a non-profit organization that serves lower income folks in the Philadelphia area who are living with diabetes. She is a new member at USG and is passionate about what mystics from all religions have to teach us about the Divine.
There’s a famous quote, attributed to Abraham Lincoln, “Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Whether Lincoln was really the source of this quote or not, I believe it. My life experiences have convinced me that joy is a matter of attitude. I believe joy happens because we welcome the small miracles in our lives. It happens when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things are despite appearances.
Dr. Jean Wilcox’s career has been “a bit of a random walk.” After getting a PhD in chemistry, she worked in technology in the corporate world until she discovered that marketing was much more fun. At one point she worked for a Japanese company with offices in Silicon Valley and learned to speak Japanese.
After being down-sized from the corporate world, she did marketing consulting, adjunct teaching and ran a B&B. She is now a Professor of International Marketing at Temple University’s Fox School of Business. She still consults, travels to Japan whenever she can, loves watching her garden grow and laughing with friends.