February 4, 2011


Giving is simple way to happiness

In the shadow of the economic crisis, "the American dream has become the American nightmare," said Rev. Adam Hamilton, speaking at Candler School of Theology's "Simple Enough?" lecture series.

Hamilton's talk, based on his popular book "Enough: Discovering Joy through Simplicity and Generosity," explored spiritual and financial well-being.

Hamilton, the founding pastor of the 17,000-member United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, said that the cause of the economic crisis of 2008 was because of Americans' three primary assumptions:

"The first one is that our income will always go up. The second is that the stock market will always go up. The third is that home prices will never go down."

Applying the seven deadly sins to American culture, he recounted his own experience with the iPhone as an example of idolatry.

"Where our treasure is, there our heart will be also," said Hamilton.

Hamilton suggests an antidote to this addiction to material goods: Tithing.

"Giving is like breathing," he said. "If you're not giving, you're broken. Society pushes us to take and take and take. If you keep consuming, you'll never be satisfied. The act of consuming controls you and you become a slave to it. This addiction is a high."

Among Hamilton's tips to living more simply and happily:

•    Try to pay in cash instead of using credit cards.
•    Find ways to make old things new.
•    Inspire others to give.

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