Fairfax F. Fair
Fairfax F. Fair is pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Ann Arbor, Michigan.
I played competitive tennis as a teenager. At one point, a new player started working with my coach. He was a natural athlete—quick, agile, and well coordinated. I was impressed. My coach was not. He said, “That kid will never be any good.”
Life is Good. T-shirts broadcasting this message are available in stores everywhere in sizes for both adults and kids. I see these shirts in airports across the country. I wonder if airports are capitalizing on the hope that people who are about to be set free from regular responsibilities and stresses are inclined to join a Life Is Good club—or perhaps airports are capitalizing on those travelers whose impulse control is poor because they’re excited about getting home to visit loved ones.
Most of us do not take criticism well. We get defensive, make excuses, or blame others. Nor do we engage in much self reflection or acknowledgement of our personal failings. A lot of churches have deleted the prayer of confession from their Sunday morning orders of worship because of complaints that “those prayers are too depressing,” or “those things don’t apply to me.”
The prophet Isaiah lays out what God wants of the creatures made in God's own image. God does not want self-deprivation. God does not want self-flagellation. God does not want us to suffer for the sake of suffering. God created us in love and wants us to live life to the fullest, knowing joy and communion and fulfillment.