Hundreds of Yale students cram into prof’s class on happiness — Here’s what they are looking for







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TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, I want to take you to two stories: one out of The Stream, the other out of The New York Times. The New York Times headline, on January 12th, a few days after registration opened at Yale for Psych Class 157: Psychology and the Good Life, roughly 3,000 people had signed up for the class; within three days, that figure more than doubled; after three more days, about 1,200 students or nearly one-fourth of Yale undergraduates were enrolled. The course, taught by Laurie Santos, a psychology professor and head of one of Yale’s residential colleges, tries to teach students how to be happy.

DR. REEDER: Here is the third oldest university in the United States, Ivy League. It is there for classical learning and highly competitive to get into it and you’ve got, basically, 25 percent of the student body sign up for this one class. I thought it’s pretty interesting: She said to all of them, “I’d prefer that you sign up on a pass/fail.” She didn’t want the grading process to produce unhappiness, I guess.

I’ve read a little bit of what she’s teaching and it’s going to be pretty much positive mental attitude, tips for living, be more courteous, etc. There’s nothing going to the foundational issues of life.


People do want to be happy. I know that may be a shocker, but it is the fact. One of the key texts in the Bible is Psalm 1. It’s called the “Beatitude of the Old Testament” by many. “How blest, truly happy, is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly. Now, the wicked, they are not so. They are like the chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore, the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. The Lord knows the way of the righteous but the way of the wicked shall surely perish.”

It’s a passage that acknowledges that people are seeking true happiness. Now, the Bible says that true happiness is really a subset – a fruit of – what the Bible calls joy – the joy of the Lord, the joy of our salvation, the joy of knowing God.


And, in our catechism of the reformed church, what is the chief purpose of man? The chief purpose of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. In other words, the fountain of joy is in the glory of God and the glory of God leads to the fountain of joy. The two are inseparable: The more you glorify Him, the more you enjoy Him; the more you enjoy Him, the more you glorify Him.

Now, in the world, we are searching for happiness outside of that. The Yale student body is growing up in a culture that says, “Happiness is in unrestrained drug use, unrestrained sexual activity. Happiness is found in success, in celebrity status, in power, in influence.”

Look at the people who have most attained what our culture tells us is the source of happiness. Just take a look at Hollywood: Would you like to see the budget in Hollywood for a therapist? Would you like to see the suicide rate among the celebrity status?

And there’s a sense that, “Wait, wait, wait. This isn’t delivering. I want true happiness,” so they’re going to go to a class and that class is basically going to say, “Hey, let’s act better and do better because it’ll be better for your life and here’s a few tips for living.”


What the Bible says is, “No, no.” There’s something called the Gospel. It’s called the message and ministry of reconciliation. The reason that true happiness constantly escapes us is because, one, the very things we’re looking to to bring happiness actually bring emptiness. That’s why the book of Ecclesiastes is written.

The good gifts of God, when they become idolatry, become black holes of vanity and emptiness but, with a right relationship with God, all of that is addressed and now you can enjoy the things of God to the glory of God and, thereby, enjoy Him. But you’ve got to have that relationship with Him and that’s why we’ve got a “Good News” message and that is God has initiated, achieved, accomplished, and offers to you a relationship with Him.

Our real issue is alienation – not from happiness and not from others – our real issue is alienation from God. That’s why the alienation is all around us and God says, “In place of alienation, I’ve got reconciliation.”


TOM LAMPRECHT:  Harry, that story of reconciliation was seen so, so clearly on a piece written by Esther O’Reilly in the online publication The Stream. It is the testimony of Rachael Denhollander. She was one of the many young ladies that was sexually abused by the doctor, Larry Nassar. Through her tears, obviously what was a heart wrenching situation when she was giving her testimony – but at the same time, through her Christian testimony – she said that her message that Christ alone can redeem damaged bodies and spirits also speaks to a confused culture that only has half-truth of sexual brokenness. She clearly said that “Christ can reach even through prison bars.”

DR. REEDER: It was really interesting how she laid out before this doctor, who was now carrying a Bible in with him to the courtroom, that, “If that Bible does its work, you will own your sin, you will repent of your sin and you will do deeds that acknowledge your sin and deeds appropriate to repentance.” And then she laid before him this powerful statement of accountability and forgiveness and that is the great work of redemption in Jesus Christ: that Jesus Christ did not wink at our sin – He paid for it and then He brings us to Himself that we may know the joy of salvation and the joy of growing in His grace and killing sin instead of sin killing us and, through us, killing the lives and hearts and hopes of others.

Tom, that was a powerful statement but, in it, she acknowledged, “I will not let what you have done to me to control my life. I know the Lord has loved me, He has given Himself for me and that is now my life. My life will not be defined by what you do so I have forgiven you.” She also recognizes, “I can forgive you, but you still have to answer to the Lord. The only way you receive forgiveness from the Lord is to turn from your sins and put your trust in Christ and that will show up by how you own your sins and how you respond to them.”

And then she acknowledges, “And you have a responsibility and accountability to the state. You have an accountability to those to whom you’ve sinned against to do deeds appropriate to repentance as well as seeking their forgiveness.” All of that is wonderfully laid out and you see the power of forgiveness.


Therefore, brothers and sisters, I think that is something directly tied to this matter of happiness. Happiness is not sitting in a corner wishing for God to bring judgment upon others. God does judge sin – and “the soul that sinneth shall surely die” – but what we want to do is rejoice in the forgiveness we have, we extend that forgiveness in our heart and, when people repent, we verbalize that forgiveness, yet we recognize, “I can forgive you, but you still have an issue with the state because the civil magistrate is another issue of its job to maintain order in society.”

And you have to deal with the Lord, Himself, and the only way that you can gain His forgiveness that way is His son, Jesus. No man can come to the Father but through Him, but those who come to Him, they are assured: “He who believes in me has eternal life. Your sins are forgiven, His righteousness is yours.”

And it assures us one more thing: those who truly come to Christ, there will be an evidence: confession and ownership of sin, the sorrow of sin, deeds appropriate – not penance to get salvation, but deeds appropriate to repentance. The tax collector, when he was converted and he said to Jesus, “All that I’ve stolen, I am going to give back.” He didn’t do that for his salvation, but he did that because of his salvation.

And, for those of you who are searching for happiness, here is a woman who we would look at and understand if she was in abject depression but, instead, you saw a confident woman in the Lord, able to forgive, able to acknowledge accountability, calling for confession and deeds of repentance, yet also calling for him to come to Christ and then showing the power of the grace of God that true joy can be yours even in the midst of horrific acts in a fallen world done against us. That’s what the Bible calls “walking in the triumph of Christ.”


To the Yale students who are signing up for this class, I know what you’re looking for. It’s the same thing we’re all looking for: How do I get free from my sin and the emptiness of the false promises of idolatry in rebellion against God and how can I know the joy of the Lord?

The way you can know it is Jesus, who is the savior of sinners; Jesus, the enemy of sin and the friend to sinners. “Happy am I, Jesus loves me. He took my sins and He set me free. Now I can sing all day long for happy am I.”

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News. Jessica has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and her work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.


14 mins ago

Dawson: Statements about Gov Ivey ‘dangerous move’ that could ‘tank the election’

Scott Dawson, a Republican candidate for the governor of Alabama, criticized Gov. Kay Ivey and a state agency last week, for funding that went to an Alabama based LGBTQ non-profit organization. Since then, it seems as if the gubernatorial race in Alabama has been turned upside down.

In his statement Tuesday, Dawson said, “Let me be clear. The Ivey administration has betrayed Alabama values by giving nearly one million dollars of taxpayer dollars to Free2Be, an activist organization which promotes transgenderism and alternate lifestyles to Alabama’s children.”

ADECA, which administers the state’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program with funding provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, was responsible for the allocation of funds to Free2Be.


According to ADECA, Free2Be has received nearly $1.7 million in grants from ADECA since September 2014.

Ivey responded to Dawson’s statements while at a luncheon in Tuscaloosa saying, “That’s nonsense.”

“I certainly don’t agree with the agenda or the values of that organization. The funding is federal funding. It’s been going on since 2014. There are no Alabama tax dollars involved,” Ivey told reporters.

When a reporter questioned Ivey on whether or not she was upset, Ivey responded, “Do I look upset?”

“Lookie here, he’s all over the board,” Ivey said. “He’s not getting any traction. He’s low in the polls. He’s three weeks away from the election. He’s getting desperate.”

Ivey is correct. When personal attacks are being hurled toward a rival, it signals desperation. And desperation this is. I was honestly shocked that Dawson would come forward with such bold accusations towards Ivey.

When a candidate is this close to the election, statements like these, that aren’t backed with sufficient and thorough investigation, should not be made.

During an appearance on Yellowhammer Radio’s “The Wake Up Call with Baylor and Hannah”, Dawson was questioned on his statements regarding the funding that is awarded to Free2Be.

“When we found it, we were like this just doesn’t look right, doesn’t look like it needs to be there,” Dawson said. “That’s when we started investigating the organization.”

Dawson reminded the audience that his intent in bringing up the funds was to warrant transparency for the state of Alabama.

He said, “This is just a statement about transparency. We need to make sure we know where our money is going, that we know why we are taking money, and how in the world these folks get $800,000 from ADECA.”

While I echo the statements Dawson makes here about transparency and ensuring that Alabamians know where their tax dollars are being spent, I must say that only a miniscule amount of research would have shown that ADECA grants are federally funded and in no way utilize tax payer dollars.

In closing the interview, Dawson said, “Quite honestly, you know, it was a dangerous move because it could just tank the election. I am just being forthright with you, but Alabama needs to know what’s going on in Alabama government.”

I think his comments did cost him the election. While I have great respect for Scott Dawson, I believe his coming forward with these statements was foolish. A lack of knowledge and research can really hurt you on the campaign trail and we are witnessing this right now.

It’s difficult for a GOP gubernatorial candidate to unseat a GOP incumbent who has, for the most part, had a good track record.

I understand the motive behind Dawson’s statements. That organization does not represent what most Alabamians see fit for a way of life. I just wish Dawson had gone about things differently and spent more time looking into the matter.

Dawson, along with everyone else running for office in America, should learn that research and getting the facts straight goes a long way. While it may be too late for Dawson, others should learn of the danger of proposing baseless investigations.

Ivey, who has received endorsement from the NRA, has shied from the public eye over the past few months. When you have a good track record as the head of Alabama, you can do these types of things. Since taking office, Gov. Ivey has not had a largely negative conflict.

Ivey’s objective in this election is to ride out her past successes in hopes of another four years as Alabama’s CEO and it might just work, so long as the unsubstantiated claims continue to be tossed her way.

@RealKyleMorris is a Yellowhammer News contributor and host of The Weekend Briefing that airs noon-2 p.m. Saturdays on 101.1 WDYE

44 mins ago

Any politician not calling for a special session on school security is committing political malpractice

The most predictable thing in America is that we will have another school shooting soon. We don’t know where it will be, but it is coming.

Every delay in addressing these issues is another day closer to more dead kids, and an eventual mass casualty event in Alabama. We can talk about hardening targets via new construction, and limiting access to guns until we are blue in the face, but these things are either expensive or not happening.

Every politician in a heated race in Alabama should be calling for a special session on school safety. State Representative and candidate for Lieutenant Governor Will Ainsworth is right on track with a real solution:


“Every school shooting that takes place in another state around the country brings us one step closer to an active shooter attacking classrooms here, in Alabama, so the governor would be wise to call a special session this summer,” Ainsworth said.  “Signs reading ‘Gun Free Zone’ are a magnet for those who wish to do harm, so we must provide teachers with the training, knowledge, and ability to defend their students with something more lethal than a ruler and a No. 2 pencil.”

Of course there is an ad as well:

Why this matters: This is good politics and good policy. The people have decided on this. The media can pretend all they want that people are torn on this, but they are not. Americans, and Alabamians especially, understand that there is nothing stopping shooters from walking into their kids’ school today and shooting it up. The idea that allowing teachers to carry makes a child less safe is laughable, the teacher willing to do harm is not stopped by a gun-free zone. Good teachers with guns, however, are following the law and the law is protecting school shooters.

The details:

— 69 percent of Republicans are in favor of allowing teachers to carry.

— 78 percent of parents would feel more safe, or just as safe, with their child’s teacher being armed.

— The media is lying and saying there have been 22 school shootings in 2018. They include accidental discharge of a firearm in their count.

— As of May 8th, Gov. Kay Ivey had not ruled out a special session, but she has not responded to Ainsworth’s call.

@TheDaleJackson is a contributing writer to Yellowhammer News and hosts a conservative talk show from 7-11 am weekdays on WVNN

1 hour ago

‘Party Like It’s 1776’ theme too offensive for school prom

A New Jersey high school principal apologized Friday for a “Party Like It’s 1776” theme at prom.

Dr. Dennis Perry, principal of Cherry Hill High School, posted on his Twitter feed an apology for the theme printed on prom tickets, calling the decision “insensitive and irresponsible,” reported Fox News.

“I especially apologize to our African American students, who I have let down by not initially recognizing the inappropriateness of this wording,” Perry wrote in a statement.


To make up for what he deemed an indiscretion, the principal said students would not need to bring their prom tickets in order to get into the event — they would instead only need to state their names to be matched up with a list of who bought tickets. Cherry Hill High School would also give every student attendee a “commemorative” ticket displaying a new design at the prom. Perry stated that a “diverse group of people” would review information distributed by the school prior to its dissemination, in the future.

Lloyd Henderson, president of the Camden County NAACP East Chapter, saw the incident indicative of a school culture “where African American students’ needs are not considered along with the rest of the school,” but mentioned that he appreciated Perry’s speedy response.

Cherry Hill High School made headlines in February when it suspended social studies teacher Timothy Locke after Locke told students to remember him if he died defending them during a school shooting.

(Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact

2 hours ago

Alabama boy drowns in rough surf along Florida’s Gulf Coast

A 5-year-old Alabama boy died after getting caught up in rough surf on Florida’s Gulf Coast.

The News Herald reports Christian Doyle of Dothan, Alabama, was one of three swimmers pulled from the water off Panama City Beach on Saturday evening. Officials say single red surf warning signs were flying at the time, notifying beachgoers of the poor conditions.


Panama City Beach fire rescue crews and a bystander performed CPR on the boy, but he died a short time later at a hospital.

The conditions of the other two swimmers, who were also from Dothan, were not immediately available.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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Why Christians should visit holy lands

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TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, last week, we talked about the opening of the new embassy in Jerusalem by the United States. Guatemala, later in the week, also moved their embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem.

Harry, in the aftermath of what happened on that day, there were, as we talked about, a number of Palestinians that were trying to breech the security border fence in Israel and they were pushed back by Israeli soldiers. A number of Palestinians were killed.

Later last week, we found that, indeed, while there were a number of Palestinians protesting, they were infiltrated by a number of terrorists and, in fact, there’s video evidence that Hamas was paying children to be involved in that group and some of those children lost their lives.


DR. REEDER: Tom, I’m going to be over there while this program is airing. People ask me, “Why do you go there?” It’s a principle I’ve learned in my own life and I use it in teaching others: If you can get direct access to the environment to where things occur, you pull in all of your senses when it comes time to learn and that enhances your learning — you get insight while you’re on-site.


As we are spending the time there, we’ll go to the various places. I have a wonderful guide that goes before us and checks all the logistics and then makes her statements about the area. She’s very knowledgeable and then she steps back. And then I start going into connecting the dots — Old Testament, New Testament, what happened here, why’d it happen here — and the providence of God.


I take people to the city of Naan — that’s where Jesus raised the boy who was being carried out of the city. I actually have found the place where that occurred and, not long after that, interestingly, an archaeological team working from the United States working in Israel found that the gates of the city were actually right there. And the way I found it is I found the ruins of an old church that used to be there, knowing that, early on, they would build churches on sites where certain things had occurred. That’s how I found it and then archeology, there was a big article on this in Biblical Archeological Review, they begin to dig and, sure enough, they found out that here’s where the gates of Naan were.

Now, there’s a lot of reasons to weep when your only son died if you’re a widow. In the surrounding societies, widows lost their legitimacy of existence when their husband died. What could preserve them is their children, in general, but the firstborn male, in particular.

Therefore, with her husband gone and her child gone, if she actually had been in another country, many of them, they just put them out and let them die or even, in some cases, put them to death because such women were considered as a burden upon society and no longer a productive member of society.

In Israel, that was not the case because the Lord had embedded the dignity of women into the ceremonial laws, in general, and the Law of God, in particular: “Honor your father and your mother.” “Do not commit adultery” — the sanctity of marriage and, therefore, the wife’s position in a marriage, that a wife was not just property.

He raises the boy and she’s got a lot of reason for joy and the people are amazed and they say, “He’s a prophet.” What a lot of people don’t realize is that there was a great prophet by the name of Elisha and that is the very area where he ministered. He, of course, raised a widow’s son as an affirmation that he had followed Elijah, who raises a widow’s son.

And, right there in that very area, they would be fully aware of that, very sensitive to that story and, when Jesus comes in and raises up the widow’s son in that same area, no wonder they cry out, “This is the prophet of whom we have waited.” What you can see is the amazing connecting of dots of all that takes place in this rather small country, about the size of New Jersey.


TOM LAMPRECHT: And, Harry, as we look at Israel and the miracles that took place — some of the stories that you just shared with us just now, yet today it seems to be somewhat of a powder keg ready to go off at any moment. Harry, is that coincidental or is there a spiritual implication there?

DR. REEDER: We’re constantly amazed at how accurate the Bible is, both what it has recorded as history and then what it prophesies as history. Prophecy in the Bible is pre-written history and God has already told us of these conflicts that are going to be there, the conflicts that are going to exist throughout the world, and the particular conflicts that are going to be there in terms of the enmity of the nations.

Now we should, as believers, always pray for the peace of Jerusalem, we should always promote peace in the area and we need to deal justly with all sides in the conflict that is there. And you need to remember that you have brothers and sisters who are Jewish, who are in Christ and know the Lord, and you have brothers and sisters who are Palestinian who are in Christ and know the Lord. Therefore, we’re always laboring for that peace in the area.

However, Tom, while I’m there, I hope to let people see their Bible come alive and then, when we get back, I get people writing me all the time, “Can I tell you what that means? My Bible now is so alive when I read it because I was right there,” –getting insight while you’re on-site.

One of the places that the people will go is the Golan Heights and, when we go there, we’ll be looking over into Syria. Not only is there tension on the southern border of Hamas and Egypt and the Gaza, but there’s also, as you know, quite a bit of tension with Syria because Syria has become a proxy for Iran and Iran has already attempted some incursions. We’ll be taking a look from the observation post that they allow you to look from.


While we’re there, we’re going to share Christ with people and we’re going to pray for Israel. Let me just also say, Tom, that 30 years ago, it was less than 1 percent of Jewish people confessed Christ as Lord and Savior. It is now believed that they’re rising up to 5 percent. Now, that doesn’t sound like much, but that is an extensive multiplication.

There’s also some evidence within the military of an underground movement of the Gospel taking place in the Israeli country and there have been a number of churches that have been able to secure some freedoms that Christian churches have not enjoyed in the past but now do enjoy, which then has opened up other doors in ministry as well.

When I pray for the peace of Jerusalem, I not only pray, certainly, for the peace among the nations and the ethnicities, but I also want to pray very specifically for the Gospel of Peace so that men and women can be right with God through the redeeming work of Jesus Christ, filled with the Spirit of God.

When you’re filled with the Spirit of God, then you have the fruit of the Spirit — love, and joy, and peace, and patience, and kindness, and goodness and faithfulness, and gentleness and self-control — and then pray that the Gospel of saving grace in Christ that brings men and women at peace with God would promote their peace with one another and then, in fact, reach out in peace, certainly not to the detriment of the security of the nation, but in order to promote the security of the nation.

And I do pray that, somehow in some way, God uses our country here, America, as a part of both of those desires that I pray for. One part is that America will have believers who are praying for and sending those who can share the Gospel throughout the land of Israel. And, secondly, that the leadership of our nation might be able to assist in some way to bring a political, and national and ethnic peace among the peoples that are there but, all the while, seeing that movement of the Gospel of peace of Jesus Christ and the redemptive work of Christ bringing the true shalom — shalom, that wonderful word of peace.


TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, on tomorrow’s edition of Today in Perspective, I want to take you to a report that was released by the New York Times last week which ought to be somewhat concerning for all of us. It really describes how the separation of the three branches of our government are starting to erode.

DR. REEDER: Not only is it the law that is king in America — not any individual or any one branch of government — but how that wisdom needs to be embraced once again.

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News, who has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and whose work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.