Beliefnet
Doing Life Together

smiley-1041796_1920Are you happy? Surprise, Disney is not the happiest place on earth despite their heavy marketing!

If you want to be happy, forget the theme park and move to Norway! That’s right. Norway is the happiest place (country) on earth. The ranking is based on a number of social and economic factors that impact happiness.

Despite the chilly weather, Norway ranks high on caring, community, freedom, generosity, health, income and good governance. In Scandinavia, is human connection and community that matter, not wealth.

According to the World Happiness Report 2017, Norway surged to first place and the U.S. dropped from 13th to 14th due to what is being called a social crisis in the U.S. –a loss of trust, corruption, rising inequality, and isolation. In addition, American are becoming more mean spirited-and mean-spirited behavior affects mental health and happiness.

So what is our take away from this report? A simple reminder that wealth and stuff doesn’t bring a sense of community and support. Things do not improve our mental health. A loving community, with people to support and care for for another, brings good mental health to people in a country.

Building a supportive community should be part of the mission of the American church. In a day and age of increasing isolation, disenfranchisement, anger and hostility, the church can become a place of community, support, hope and care. And while happiness is not the goal of the Christian believer, a life of contentment and joy is possible with a relationship with God. Jesus’ command is to love the Lord your God with all your heart and love your neighbor.

Wouldn’t it be great if the Christian church could be one of the happiest places on earth because of the love of Christ and the impact that love has on caring for one another.

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