I would like to pose some questions about emotions in church. What should be the emotions expressed from the pew? From the pulpit? How might the church’s emotion-rules hurt it’s people and hinder its mission?
Here are my thoughts:
In most churches there are clearly defined implicit rules about which few emotions are appropriate to express.
For the church goer, the modal expression should be polite interest, and the face should show either a neutral expression or, even better, a smile. It’s okay to sometimes laugh or look troubled when prompted to from the person leading the service. Attending a church service in the U.S. often proves to be a cognitively-rich but emotionally-passive experience, and I wonder if these services would hold more appeal, and have a greater impact, if the congregation was more emotionally involved in the service. Black churches, with typically more active participation from the pew in all parts of the service, seem to get this more right than white churches.
For the pastor, the rules of emotion are even more strict. Before and after the service itself, when greeting people or talking with them, pastors are limited to [Read more…]