Are Feelings Reliable?

Kenneth Cain Kinghorn, in his powerful little book, Christ Can Make You Fully Human, writes:

Mature Christians do not depend on strong emotions to sustain them. Feelings carry little reliability as proof or disproof of God’s presence… People of faith believe that every circumstance we encounter is filled with possibility and promise. God doesn’t withdraw his presence from all events except ‘religious’ ones. The totality of life pulsates with the presence of God. God wants us to experience the romance of the ordinary and the sanctification of the commonplace. With God there are no unimportant hours; each encounter and every event constitute the arena of God’s activity- and ours!

About David Hayward

David Hayward runs the blog nakedpastor as a graffiti artist on the walls of religion where he critiques religion… specifically Christianity and the church. He also runs the online community The Lasting Supper where people can help themselves discover, explore and live in spiritual freedom.

  • ttm

    Yes, “the totality of life [does pulsate] with the presence of God. And, although that idea is Scriptural–from the very heart of God to us–I find that most Christians only give it an intellectual nod of approval.

    I’m always surprised when my comments about this result in such strong feelings in other believers.

    For example, there was a the time a small group leader wanted each of us, in turn, to share how we organize our “quiet time” with God each day. I listened to each person talk about having a set time of day–a date they make and keep with God every day come Hell or high water. They had special “places” where they rendezvoused with the Creator of the Universe. I heard them discuss only Bible vs. devotional readings. I listened as they extolled the virtues of various types of worship music. Etc., etc., etc.

    When it was my turn I sort of sheepishly admitted that I don’t get up at 4:30 a.m. and follow a strict schedule of Bible reading in to ensure that I have read through The Book once per year. I don’t have an “order of worship” with God when I am alone. (The plastic smiles disappeared.)

    I told them how sometimes God wakes me up at 3:00 a.m. when the house is quiet and I do nothing but lie completely still and let His presence wash over me. (Now there were strange looks and fidgeting.)

    I shared with them how sometimes I feel compelled to pray for a particular person when I am sitting at a busy intersection or during a commercial when my son and I are watching TV. And I shared that sometimes “non-Christian” books and music speak to me with as much truth as Scripture. (This brought at least one audible gasp!)

    I told them that often God speaks to me when I am in the bathtub and that my most memorable glimpses of God have been in blizzards, sunrises, deaths, and interactions with people the world would consider to be on the fringes of humanity. (Now it was awfully quiet.)

    After what seemed an eternity of silence, one woman–a pastor’s wife–said she couldn’t imagine how God could be pleased with being “squeezed into the tiny spaces of my life.”

    I wonder to this day if she has yet discovered the same intimate, life-loving, all-consuming God that I know.

  • nakedpastor

    wow. awesome comment. you know, hearing things like this still amaze me, but i shouldn’t be surprised.