In God’s image: Towards a theology of our emotions
Ryan, T. (2003). In God’s image: Towards a theology of our emotions. Compass: A Review of Topical Theology, 37 (4).
Emotions are bewildering. We relish joy and wonder, craving more of the same. Others like fear and guilt can so upset us that we want them to just go away. Culturally, too, we are expected to approach everything ‘unemotionally,’ since feelings can overwhelm thinking and discussion, distorting our judgments and our dealings with others. In other words, objectivity, maturity, reasonableness are best exercised without our feelings. The reality is that we cannot live and develop as rational beings or Christians without the obbligato of our emotions. There is a growing awareness how much our feelings and emotional health bring insight and attunement that are indispensable to us psychologically and morally. The New Catechism describes emotions (‘passions’) as the passageway between spirit and body. Emotions anchor us in the world as embodied beings. But what is their significance theologically? How do we image God in our emotional life? We will explore this through four questions.