2017-11-19T17:14:40+00:00 November 19th, 2017|
I recently came across this statement from a local church pastor: 'Facts don't move people to action - emotion does'. It strikes me that such a conviction is both helpful and concerning at the same time. On the one hand, it is certainly true that facts alone don't move us to action. That is why a sermon has to be more than simply the passing on of data. I'm sure it is also true to say that most people make decisions about the big issues of life and death, more on gut instinct than on rational consideration. But if the only alternative to that is cast as 'emotion' then have we not replaced one inadequate thing for another!? Why? 1. Emotion has a very short half-life. The bubble can burst very quickly and easily, if there is nothing solid to support it. The Sunday 'buzz' might help us on Sunday but probably won't by Tuesday! 2. Emotions are very easy to manipulate, especially through the clever use of music or drama, such that common sense or discernment get lost. 3. Emotion can be entirely irrational! I can't be the only one who has been deeply moved by listening to a particular song only to realize that the words that I am now singing to myself are nonsensical rubbish. I wonder whether a better formulation must be along the following lines: 'In order to be moved to action, we need to be able to "feel" what we believe'. The entry point has to be the head (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22), but if it does not migrate to the heart then it will never activate the will. If we find that we are no longer moved or motivated by Jesus, the gospel and other bible bits, then it's time to pray and pray, 'O Lord - help me to "feel" what I believe!' '