Tag Archives: emotion

Secular Culture

Secular Culture

In blog posts over the last several weeks, I have been trying to help us understand what kinds of influences and values have converged to produce the culture in which we Christians in the West now find ourselves. I’ve explored some of the worldview values that have shifted; today, I’d like to begin exploring how… Continue Reading

Emotion

Emotion

This entry is part 41 of 63 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Perhaps few words are as mangled as the word emotion. In this word is a cacophony of confusion. For some, emotion is nothing more than the superficial states of the body: neither moral, nor important. For others, emotion is the gold standard of sincerity: if you feel it, then you mean it, and lack of… Continue Reading

MacArthur on Ecstatic Worship

MacArthur on Ecstatic Worship

Ecstatic experiences can be addictive. The world is full of thrill-seekers and daredevils hunting for that next rush of fear and adrenaline. The same is true for men and women who get hooked on the emotional highs of religious fervor. Soon the same old routines aren’t enough; their search for a greater spiritual high leads… Continue Reading

Music and Emotion in the Image of God

Music and Emotion in the Image of God

The relationship between music and emotions gains greater stability when the source of all human feelings and emotions is exposed. Human personality and emotions are imprints of the Divine, derived miniatures of the unsearchable personhood of the Trinity, rather than self-generated or the social adaptations of a developing species. Therefore, it is not enough to… Continue Reading

As Real As I Feel

As Real As I Feel

This entry is part 21 of 63 in the series Ten Mangled Words You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

An assumption of a generation intoxicated with authenticity is the notion that feelings don’t lie. Given their spontaneous and often uncontrollable nature, emotions are seen as the inevitable and unstoppable eruptions of the heart. Breaking through the surface layer of ‘masks’, ‘forms’, or some other supposed act of evading one’s inner truth, emotions represent pure,… Continue Reading

Evangelical Religious Romanticism

Evangelical Religious Romanticism

Bruce Davidson makes some good points here about the romanticism present in much of evangelical sentiment. I think his analysis could be strengthened if he employed the premodern distinction between “passions” and “affections” instead of relying on the nebulous term, “emotion,” but his points are well taken. He concludes, By elevating them and exempting them… Continue Reading

Afraid of Emotion in Worship?

Afraid of Emotion in Worship?

Roger Olson asks, “Why are we afraid of emotion in worship?” The short answer is that we–as in we at Religious Affections Ministries–aren’t. Not in the least. In fact, we are convinced that emotion is absolutely necessary to worship. If you’re not emotionally engaged, you’re not worshiping. Emotion in worship is important, so important that… Continue Reading

Are emotions universal?

Are emotions universal?

This is a fascinating article in many ways. It traces the scientific debate concerning what, exactly, emotions are and whether they are universal or not. This issue has a good deal of relevance for discussions of the arts, for art, especially music, communicates at least on one level through mimicking human emotional expression. Here are… Continue Reading

How corporate worship is and is not like a baseball game

How corporate worship is and is not like a baseball game

Yesterday I attended a baseball game with my family, and I found myself pondering again a comparison I’ve often heard made by preachers between corporate worship and sporting events. “Look at how excited and enthusiastic everyone is,” they observe. “If we can get that excited about sports, we should be even more enthusiastic about God… Continue Reading

Meaning in Music

Meaning in Music

This entry is part 9 of 10 in the series Back to Basics You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Meaning in music is a tricky thing. Most people think it’s tricky because music is so abstract and lacks specificity such that describing its meaning with words is nearly impossible. On the contrary, meaning in music is tricky for exactly the opposite reason. As Felix Mendelssohn once noted, “What music expresses its not too indefinite to… Continue Reading

Congratulations to Ryan Martin

Congratulations to Ryan Martin

Ryan Martin, regular contributor to Religious Affections Ministries, has successfully defended his dissertation. His Ph.D. will be conferred officially on May 11, but (for what it’s worth) he can already claim to be Dr. Martin. As with most dissertations, Ryan’s title was long and convoluted: “‘A Soul Inflamed with High Exercises of Divine Love:’ Affections… Continue Reading

Worship that Cannot Be Touched

Worship that Cannot Be Touched

This entry is part 10 of 10 in the series Worship in Hebrews You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Throughout the history of the Church, Christians have always been tempted to follow after more physical, more sensory forms of worship because of a misunderstanding of this discontinuity, and this is perhaps no more true than it is in the 21st century Church. When people worship, they strongly desire to feel something; they want to… Continue Reading

Two Roads Diverged

This entry is part 12 of 14 in the series The Hymnody of the Christian Church You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

The dethroning of the Church by Reason and the creation of pop culture left the Church in an awkward position. Its cultural influence was non-existent. As the culture around it plunged into sanitized paganism, the Church’s traditional forms became foreign. The Church was in Babylon, yet it was free to worship as it pleased. So… Continue Reading

Medieval Hymns

Medieval Hymns

This entry is part 10 of 14 in the series The Hymnody of the Christian Church You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

When Emperor Constantine legalized Christianity in 313 with the Edict of Milan, and Christianity soon became the religion of the entire empire, the cultural conditions within which the Church thrived changed into a situation that had not been enjoyed since before the Hebrew exile. Soon the Church gained prominence over all aspects of politics and… Continue Reading

Musical Form in Christian Hymnody

This entry is part 5 of 14 in the series The Hymnody of the Christian Church You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Musical form shapes content in very similar ways to poetic form, yet it is a bit more abstract and thus considerably more difficult to readily recognize. But because music communicates by mimicking natural human expression, anyone can discern the basic meaning of music by simply listening closely and asking a few penetrating questions. Music contains… Continue Reading

The Purpose and Power of Christian Hymnody

The Purpose and Power of Christian Hymnody

This entry is part 2 of 14 in the series The Hymnody of the Christian Church You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Last time we observed the fact that we sing because the Bible commands us to sing. But let’s get a little bit deeper than simply singing because we’re told. Why, exactly, has God told us to sing in worship? We can certainly recognize why he commands things like preaching and praying and reading the Scriptures.… Continue Reading

A Theological Basis of Conservatism, Part 6

A Theological Basis of Conservatism, Part 6

This entry is part of 7 in the series A Theology of Conservatism You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

In this series, we are establishing a theological foundation for conservatism, specifically the objective nature of aesthetic judgments. See part 1 here, part 2 here, part 3 here, part 4 here, and part 5 here. In the same way, the aseity of God is the ground for meaningful aesthetic judgment. We are now in position to draw parallels… Continue Reading

A Theological Basis of Conservatism, Part 1

A Theological Basis of Conservatism, Part 1

This entry is part of 7 in the series A Theology of Conservatism You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Characteristic of our age is the wholehearted embrace of relativisms; I speak of relativisms (in the plural) because we can consider relativism from several (interrelated) perspectives. I often make use of a tripartite conception of man (as mind, will, and emotion) to classify some important relativistic views. If relativism is applied to mind, we relinquish… Continue Reading