2 things that Blaise Pascal and I have in common

You know me as Fabs, but that’s not my name.

In fact, no one really ever called me Fabs until my first boss out of college.  Up till then I was called Fabienne, Fab, Flabbyland, and a couple of other names that are just not appropriate for this blog.

My name has caused me grief since I was a kid.

It’s really hard for people to say and even harder for people to remember.  Fabs isn’t a great solution because it doesn’t even sound like a name.  Case in point: I once overheard someone ask ‘what is a fabs?’

I would have gone by my middle name years ago to skip the name drama, if it wasn’t for the fact that my middle name is even worse than my real name.

Pascale.

My parents didn’t name me after Blaise Pascal, and they didn’t name me knowing that Pascale means ‘passover’, but I like to think that God had both those things in mind when He ordained Pascale as my middle name.

Besides my name, Blaise and I also share a common love interest: God.

When he became a believer at 31 he wrote this note, and then sewed it into his coat where it was found after he died:

Year of grace 1654, Monday 23 November, feast of St. Clement . . . from about half past ten at night to about half an hour after midnight, FIRE. God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob, not of philosophers and scholars. Certitude, heartfelt joy, peace. God of Jesus Christ. God of Jesus Christ. “My God and your God.” . . . Joy, Joy, Joy, tears of joy. . . Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ. May I never be separated from him.

I know what he means.

Pascale is also the guy who wrote all the stuff about us being made to pursue our happiness above all:

All men seek happiness. This is without exception. Whatever different means they employ, they all tend to this end. The cause of some going to war, and of others avoiding it, is the same desire in both, attended with different views. This is the motive of every action of every man, even of those who hang themselves.

That’s right, folks.  Piper wasn’t the first Christian Hedonist.  In fact, when Johnny P first read Pascale’s thoughts, he was in turmoil about the idea that we should pursue our own happiness:

I suspected this was true. But I always feared that it was sin. That wanting to be happy was a moral defect. That self-denial meant renouncing joy, not renouncing lesser joys for greater joys.

But then God conspired with these writers to force me to reread the Bible. To give it a chance to have its true say. And what I found there concerning joy changed me forever. I have been trying to understand it and live it and teach it ever since. It’s not new. It’s been there for thousands of years.

Understanding that God is interested in my joy has been absolutely transforming for me as well.  Pursuing His glory is something I will spend my life on because I know that His glory and my joy are inextricably linked.

He gets the most glory when I am most joyful.  And I am most joyful when He is getting the most glory.

Neat.

Thanks Pascal.  I can’t wait to catch up with you on the flip side and talk about all we have in common.

2 thoughts on “2 things that Blaise Pascal and I have in common

  1. Fabs is as much a name as Babs is. 😉 I’ve heard some about Piper’s Christian hedonism and am very wary of it. I do, however, support discussion in the church and life of the believer of orthopathy in connection with orthodoxy and orthpraxy. In so far as Piper means orthopathy I can be on board.

  2. i totally remember when we were obsessed with names (for our future babies) and looked up fabienne and pascal! LOVE!

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