Emotions

Fading Joy: Am I Seeking an Experience or a Relationship?

By M.R. Conrad. Reposted from Rooted Thinking.

The lights dim as the music begins to play. The energy in the crowd seems to almost crackle audibly. You feel a surge of anticipation for the songs you know, the empowering words you always hear, and the inspirational, larger-than-life people you see standing before you. At a well-designed worship service, Bible conference, or summer camp, God seems real, close, and exciting.

Then, you go home and open your Bible alone. You know the Scriptures are filled with life-giving words and powerful examples, but somehow, it’s not the same. The atmosphere is gone. You struggle to maintain your interest. Spiritual dryness sets in. What is wrong with you? Where has the joy gone?

The Joy Is Gone

In Psalm 16:11, David speaks of the joy that you now are missing: “You [God] will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” What is this joy? Joy is a positive mindset that expresses our satisfaction and pleasure in things we value. We find joy in what is most important to us. What do we value most?

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Our Theology of Prayer Matters More than Our Feelings

"I relished reading about prayer, talking about prayer, trying different kinds of prayer, and encouraging others in their lives of prayer. And most of all, I loved the sweet intimacy of prayer itself .... And then one day, without warning, reason, or explanation, that sense of sweet intimacy was gone. ... My very relationship with God seemed threatened." - C.Today

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“Offend”–That Word Might Not Mean What You Think It Means

"We must take great care that we do not sin against one another and that we do not place stumbling blocks in the way of others. However, our discipleship obligations to one another require that we say hard, uncomfortable, and sometimes emotionally distressing things to one another." - P&D

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From the Archives – Good and Angry

They may not be many in number, but they do exist: Christians who are thoroughly confused about anger. During counseling, reading, and sermon-listening, four myths have come to my attention repeatedly. Here’s a brief, non-expert—but hopefully thought-provoking—response.

Myth 1: If you don’t let it out, anger will drive you crazy.

This popular notion probably has its roots in Freudian psychoanalysis. Freud’s million-dollar idea (or at least the pop-psych version of it) was that the human subconscious sort of reroutes “repressed” emotions into psychoses that seem unrelated to their causes. Pent up anger can eventually make you think you’ve been abducted by aliens or that people you know and love are afflicted by a strange disease only you know about and that you have to shoot them to cure them. So, to be healthy, we must express not repress.

This kind of thinking about anger is common in popular film and television. If only the serial killer had openly expressed his anger, he would never have become such a monster. Cue commercial.

Sometimes Christians view anger this way as well. “I just need to vent,” they say.

But if we remove the Freudian assumptions, the idea that it’s healthy to openly express anger looks highly questionable. Is there really a place anger goes to lurk when we’re not feeling it? Certainly our thoughts and beliefs live in memory, but what if anger—and other emotions—really exist only when we’re feeling them?

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Musing About Music

Reposted, with permission, from Theologically Driven.

WikiAnswers poses the question, “Why does music exist?” then self-replies: “Because it brings happiness to people all over the world.”

We must grant that WikiAnswers is scarcely an authoritative reference source, but it does offer a window on popular culture. It reflects that a common reason (and perhaps the most common reason) for the societal “doing” of music today is to forget the pain, grief, anxiety, dreariness, and simple ennui of life and enter an imaginary world where one can have the emotional experience of his choice—usually a happy one. Ironically, the historically central idea of “music” (fr. the Grk. μοῦσα, to muse, think, remember, or reflect) has been transformed in the last century into its own etymological opposite—an occasion, whether active or passive, for not “musing,” or, supplying the alpha privative, a venue foramusement. This is not to say that music as amusement or as a means of forgetting is always bad (see in principle Prov. 31:7), but it does reflect a total reversal of the Western tradition concerning the central purpose of music.

Of course, history only slightly improves on Wiki in terms of warrant. Still it is interesting to know that the perceived function of music from the classical period to the rise of populism was as an aid to musing and remembering, or perhaps better, as a means to creating the affective distance necessary to fostering reflection.

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