4 Stars Out Of 5
November 24, 2010
Few of us if questioned would claim to have our â€˜emotional stuff' all together. I think that all of us feel like we fall short in the department of emotional maturity. As believers a message we commonly receive from the church is to just get a grip on our feelings, but author Matthew Elliott offers us a way of exploring, rejoicing in, and bringing our feelings into line with God's heart.
Elliott is bang-on in so many areas. He tackles sermons that claim the love talked about in scripture is an action, a fact, not necessarily a true feeling, he tackles claims that the joy spoken of isn't experiential but rather a mental assurance, the often spoken claim that all anger is a sin - he takes on these and other common teachings on emotion in the modern church and explores them in light of the scriptures and life.
Based upon his research for his more scholarly Faithful Feelings (I haven't read it, but my interest is so piqued!), Feel is more of a consumer-friendly handbook version of his work for believers who are interested in digging deeper into their emotional processes in light of the scripture. Written in a very modern, easy to read style, Elliot shares emotional experiences from his own life, and pre-readers of Feel also offer up their thoughts and first-hand relating to each chapter in the "Blog" section at the end of each chapter.
While Elliott does offer a set of â€˜tools' or a model to help explore and examine emotions, I felt these were too abstract for me to actually grasp hold of and integrate into my own life. This was the weakest section for me. The book's strengths lie more in the pondering of Elliott's points, and in his wholehearted belief in full-hearted Christian living.
Although Feel is written in short paragraphs and could easily be breezed through, it took me a long time to finish reading it. I read it a page or two at a time so I could think about the insights Elliott offered. There is a lot here to mull over, and Feel can certainly bear repeated readings.