Facing Feelings in Faith Communities

by William M. Kondrath. Rowman & Littlefield, 2013.
Large facing feelings

What are you feeling right now? Are you happy? Are you sad? Maybe you are feeling at peace? Perhaps you are feeling discomfort. William Kondrath has written a book that honors the reality that everyone in your congregation is feeling something at every moment. These feelings influence the quality of congregational life. Many of us have ambivalent feelings about, well, feelings. Being emotional in a public setting is often not a helpful thing. Yet, we all have emotions. God wired us this way. Kondrath, who is an Episcopal priest and a consultant for {{Visions, Inc. | http://www.visions-inc.org}}, notes the importance of congregations being emotionally competent. In a congregation, emotional literacy is about awareness of one’s own feelings, awareness of the feelings of others. Whether you are in a Bible study group wrestling with a difficult Bible passage, or at a Board meeting working through a challenging subject (“there just isn’t any money left”), being able to manage such emotions is an important task. Awareness of emotions can lead to deeper thinking about the subject at hand. Kondrath provides insight into six basic feelings: fear, anger, sadness, peace, power and joy. He provides examples of how to deal with such emotions in the midst of congregational life. The outcome Kondrath aims for is deeper and more authentic relationships resulting in more vital congregational life.