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The Myth of Happiness by Rich Wagner

Richard WagnerThe Richard Wagner File:

Review of The Myth of Happiness

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The Advocate



The Myth of Happiness by Rich Wagner

Reviewed by Dale Lewis

"...helps dissipate our misunderstandings while revealing the true nature of biblical joy."

The pursuit of happiness in America has become a national pastime . . . a dead-end obsession for satisfaction and fulfillment. In a world so overtly consumed with want, how can we fill our lives with true joy?

In The Myth of Happiness, software engineer turned author Rich Wagner helps dissipate our misunderstandings while revealing the true nature of biblical joy. Besides answering what joy is and isn't, he honestly confronts tough questions like “how can we experience it daily?” and “can we experience joy while battling fear and uncertainty?”

When I think about joy, I’m reminded of a Sunday school chorus like “I’ve Got the Joy, Joy, Joy down in my Heart,” the classic hymn “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee” or the ever popular “Jesus first; Others second; and Yourself last.”

We talk of joy like we know what it's about, but our lives spotlight discontentment, envy and unhappiness. Sadly, we just don’t get it! Wagner helps the Christ-follower to understand the unquenchable joy Christ promises. He describes joy as "the nature of God pumped through our bloodstream" and states that "The problem with happiness becomes one of attitude and priority not of avoidance."

With where I’m at in my faith-walk, chapter 8 “Driven by Purpose” was revealing and convicting, especially the section “The Unpurposed Life.” I don’t want to settle for the cheap substitute of happiness when biblical joy transforms and sustains.

This book will be one of the chosen few I’ll be giving as gifts this year. Its message of discovering a joy you never thought possible is clearly presented and needs to be heard.

Keep writing Mr. Wagner!

Dale Lewis now mans the front desk at the EFCA (The Evangelical Free Church of America) National Office in Minneapolis, MN. He was the graphic designer/pre-press production artist for over twelve years before being asked to step into this new role. Prior to that, he was the publications manager at his alma mater, Northwestern College in St. Paul, MN in the public relations office as well as the adviser to the college’s yearbook. He's a director/actor/writer for the Hope Church (Oakdale, MN) adult drama worship team and was the senior editor of the church newsletter. He's also written two collections of poetry, “Whispers of Assurance” and “On Life: Constant Communion Without Ceasing” as well as a devotional entitled “Eternal Education.” He and his family live in Oakdale, Minnesota.