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The Pursuit of Happiness

People want to be happy. Nothing could be more obvious, and yet this common and evident goal is not as easy to achieve as it is to desire. The Christian tradition has understood happiness to be gained through relationship with God, and it has much to say about what will make us truly happy and what will not. This book examines happiness from a Christian perspective, using John Wesley as the focus of study because he understood happiness with God to be the very goal of Christian life. He also understood that Christian happiness needed to acknowledge the difficulties of life. This book seeks to learn from the wisdom of the past in order to imagine how Christians today might talk about happiness in a way that is faithful to the tradition and engages the world as well. ""Lancaster has provided a welcome resource in this study, reclaiming and clarifying the appropriate concern for 'happiness' or 'well-being' in Christian life. In the process she has modeled Wesleyan theology at its best-grounded in scripture and tradition, conversant with recent work in psychology, and oriented to Christian worship and practice."" --Randy L. Maddox William Kellon Quick Professor of Theology and Wesleyan Studies Duke University ""Sarah Lancaster has unearthed one of the great riches of the Christian tradition, namely, a vision of happiness as gift and blessing-as something that happens to us only when we learn to love as God loves. Beautifully written and exceptionally well-executed, The Pursuit of Happiness is must reading for theologians and clergy alike. This is practical theology at its best!"" --Jason E. Vickers Associate Professor of Theology and Wesleyan Studies United Theological Seminary ""Sarah Lancaster invites the reader to look beyond the simple stereotypes of 'happiness' to see the power and subtlety that this concept was given by people like Augustine, Jonathan Edwards, and John Wesley. Without bypassing tough questions about the reality of spiritual 'heaviness' and sadness, she shows deep conceptual linkages between happiness and holiness, leading the reader to see how the human desire for happiness and the mission of the church can intersect in life-giving ways."" --Gregory S. Clapper Professor of Religion and Philosophy The University of Indianapolis Sarah Heaner Lancaster is Hazen G. Werner Professor of Theology at Methodist Theological School in Ohio. She is the author of Women and the Authority of Scripture: A Narrative Approach (2002).
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