Our sense of self is derived from the story we create out of our experiences. To put it another way, our identity emerges from the story we tell ourselves about what has happened for us. I’ve written about this in previous posts, so don’t want to dwell too much on it now. What I want to do is focus on how this story – our own story – has elements in it that fail to convince even us. Parts of it seem to portray us as being all too sadly lacking in certain areas, meaning that our identity can become a problem. Continue reading
Forgiveness as an Expression of Anger.
My aim here is still to argue in favour of the much maligned emotion of anger. I want to celebrate it and encourage the experiencing of this emotion for the simple reason that it is vital to our flourishing. So far (Anger (1) and Anger (2)) I have been concerned with defending anger and suggesting ways in which we can manage it. All along, however, my purpose has been to arrive at this point where I try to highlight what I think is an important, but overlooked use of our anger: forgiveness. Continue reading
Feeling The Pain.
In my last post (Anger(1)) I argued that anger has a vital role to play in the life of a flourishing human being. But unless I want anger to become the equivalent of those salads you get with every Indian takeaway – good for nothing except making you feel guilty for ignoring it – I need to give some indication of how anger can be managed without it becoming the destructive force we fear it to be.
My starting point for this is to suggest that we need to become aware of the ways we might use anger that are actually working against and not for us. As with all difficult emotions our initial response can be to try and get away from our anger, and the first two responses to anger I mention below are ways some of us use to do this. The next three responses are also unproductive, and therefore ways in which we fail to respect either the anger we feel or the relationship within which that anger has been provoked. Continue reading
All We Are Saying is Give Anger a Chance
Anger troubles us. From the seismic tremors of irritation to the volcanic explosions of rage anger in its various forms feels threatening. It is a difficult, uncomfortable and unpleasant emotion and when it grabs hold of us then it usually means that something in our life has gone seriously wrong. Who in their right mind would want to be angry? Continue reading
““For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” (1 Corinthians 5:7b-8).
Within the context of an essentially negative point in which the author of these words, the apostle Paul, is criticising the church in the Greek city of Corinth for tolerating gross immorality, we catch a glimpse of a wonderfully positive view of the Christian life. It is, we are shown, a celebration, a festival. Continue reading
A few months ago, while reading Stephen Pattison’s book, Shame, I was reminded of this passage from Martin Buber’s Between Man and Man. Although this isn’t Buber’s most famous work – that accolade goes to I and Thou – it is the one that had the greatest impact on me . I love the following paragraphs for the way they dissolve the distinction between the spiritual and the secular. In Buber’s hands sacred and profane spaces, holy and the common time collapse to form what Pattison refers to as the holiness of the everyday. Continue reading
A Story from the Mabinogion
Manawydan ap Llyr had surrendered himself to feasting, to pleasure and to forgetting. Year after year he and his six companions gratified their desires in the Great Hall of Gwales Castle in Penfro. Year after year they ate and drank, sang and danced. They had nothing to drink to and nothing to sing about and yet they continued with their empty celebrations. Pleasure without purpose and happiness without reason, these had preoccupied them for a magical and unreal lifetime. Continue reading