Wednesday, July 25, 2012

how do you how grow emotions of Jesus? a question of Principal (4)

This continues my “As an incoming Principal, I have plenty of questions” series – questions that I ponder as I begin a new role as Principal at Uniting College. (First question, with some responses is here, here and here).

Here is the fourth question I’m asking

How do you grow compassion (and other emotions like joy, anger, sorrow and love for people)?

In Matthew 9:36, Jesus had compassion. The result is commission to mission, prayer that workers will be sent into the harvest. Doesn’t that become a way of understanding a College? That it engages compassion (and other emotions), as part of the educative and transformative act?

According to Matthew Elliott

“The theologies of the New Testament, as we have seen, do not do a good job in incorporating emotion into their framework. As it is in secular ethics, in New Testament ethics and theology emotion is often belittled, trivialized or ignored.” (Faithful Feelings: Rethinking Emotion in the New Testament 256).

So that is a direct challenge to any College (course, sermon, preacher) – the claim that the ways it has taught (“theologies of the ….”) have not engaged the whole person.

According to adolescent psychologists, Haviland-Jones, Gebelt and Stapley

“We usually think of learning how not to be emotional rather than whether or not emotions are being refined and transformed to mature forms.”

So emotions can be, should be, part of the educative process. You should be able to point to intentional ways that emotions are being transformed, just the way you can point to growth in theology of mission or skills in preaching.

Reading the Gospels over the last few years, I’ve been struck by the feelings of Jesus, wondering what I might learn from God who experienced sorrow, crying, radical love, anger, compassion. And now, the question of Principal emerges – how do you grow compassion (and other emotions like joy, anger, sorrow and love for people)?

As I read the Biblical narrative of Matthew 9:35-38, I am intrigued by how the feelings of Jesus shaped his development of leaders. And what that might mean for Principal, staff and students, curriculum and common rooms, chapels and classes.

For more on some of my earlier reflections on feelings of Jesus

  • some leadership reflection here
Posted by steve at 08:26 AM

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