Thursday, August 27, 2009

Yikes! Part 3

Another excerpt from Getting Christianity Right! by Dr. Robert Sessions.

I am not against emotion in religion. In fact, religion and worship can be deadly without it. Our need for a thinking Christianity does not mean seeking a non-feeling faith. Thinking can be an escape from, a substitute for, emotion, just as feeling can be a substitute for, coveted in place of, significant thought. Some Christians want an intellectually interesting religion without emotional involvement. Many others want an intelllectually shallow, “feel-good” religion.

Thinking and feeling, in the best forms of worship, can support and enrich each other. Scientists tell us that among living creatures, capacity for feeling increases with intelligence. Most dogs have more intricate systems of feelings than does an ant. Don’t tell Ginger, our golden retriever, this, but a human can know broader and greater depths of emotions than a dog. The finest Christinaity will be the one that finds expression in mind and heart, intelligence and emotions.

Christians who choose a religion of feeling without thought, and those who prefer a faith of the intellect without emotions, are kept from the best by the second best. John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church, described a better way:

“Let us unite the two so long divided –
Knowledge and vital piety.”

p. 10

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To Ponder

Is worship primarily emotional, primarily intellectual, or primarily something else? How about primarily spiritual?

Is intellectual shallowness the main objection to feel-good religion? One of my major problems with feel-good religion is that it tends to give its adherents the strength to continue with their dysfunctional lives. Instead of facing and fixing them, I mean. Has a sort of enabling role, to use an AA term.

Is worship supposed to be a consumer experience, that is, about US, or is it supposed to be about God? Or is there some of both, given that Christianity is all about relationships?