Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Emotional Responses

My eyes open wider when I smell coffee brewing.  My mouth actually waters when I smell cinnamon rolls.  I think of my parents' house every time I catch a whiff of a burning charcoal grill. These are trained responses that my senses have, and I enjoy them, along with a thousand other food-related stimuli.  They serve me quite well.

Our emotions also provide constant stimuli. But the thing is, if we trust our emotions like we do the smell of mom's home cooking, we might be tempted to follow whatever pleasing thing comes along.  Similarly, we may plunge into despair when something as simple as a headache or indigestion is causing us psychosomatic stress.  However, if we're trained to trust in Truth before anything else will not be so easily swayed. 

Now don't hear what I'm not saying; emotions are a fascinating and wonderful gift from God.  Emotions are the reason we love the symphony and sunsets and sad love stories.  The down side is that emotions aren't a very good gauge of truth.

So, while I'm not promoting stoicism, I do worry (there's an emotion right there!) about a few things.  For example, I worry that we love the warm fuzzies when the band strikes up in church and we mistake the fuzzies for the presence of God.  I worry that we love the jokes the pastor tells and mistake that for good preaching.  I worry that eventually all we'll really want are warm fuzzies and funny jokes and will have no time for anything else.

Maybe there's a fine line here, and maybe there isn't.  Ideally, our hearts will be moved - no, shaken! - by Truth couched in beautiful music and our souls will be nourished, challenged and changed by the Gospel preached in a winsome manner.   Personally, I want more than anything for any music that I play and any message I preach to be grounded, anchored and rooted in Truth so I don't step into that dangerous territory where leaders look for an emotional response as a sign of success.

3 comments:

timwitten said...

Like Jeremiah, you're 'meddling' again. Thank you.

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? Jer 17:9

If we love one another, we must keep reminding ourselves of the constant barrage of lies from without and within... lies that lead us to pretending to worship and pretending to receive the Word of Truth; and, for pastors and worship leaders, pretending to lead the body well in worship or preaching through emotional manipulation.

Emotional sabotage... we do it to ourselves and we are apt to let it slide in one another. Glad you didn't let it slide brother.

semper reformanda said...

http://twentytwowords.com/2013/05/30/explaining-our-arbitrary-ethics-to-an-alien/

The Blainemonster said...

Emotional sabotage - I like that, Tim.

And Kevin, kudos to you for finding the perfect cartoon to illustrate this point.