Thursday, May 8, 2008

Passion. Passion! Passion?

I listened to the preacher, this Sunday past. He had much passion. Even to several very moving moments when the beauty of his words describing the commitment on the part of our Father to humanity quivered in his voice box and flooded his eyes.

Twenty years ago, my eyes would have flooded, too, in a sympathetic, “Amen, amen!”

Passion alone once called to my soul, when the Word of Truth was praised and exalted. If a drop of the blood of Christ could be alluded to or lifted up for the congregation to consider; and this done in what I considered completely biblical exegesis, I was in that moment ready to weep and shout and dance! The unsurpassed beauty of the sweet, powerful glory of redemption waved above a congregation’s head, the banner of God’s wondrous love, riveted my heart. There could be no doubt, in my mind, the speaker was anointed. I have been redeemed from much, literally. How could I not respond at that “depth” of level?

In retrospect, my emotional response secured my cognitive understanding that the speaker was “of the Lord” or “in the spirit”. Two phrases I bandied about easily. There existed a lingo I understood within the context of both our immediate group and a larger, evangelical group with which I identified.

“Is passion deep commitment?” I ask now. In many cases they are related, I think. Yet, I wonder how they work together within a group dynamic and within an individual framework as well. What do others, you dear reader for one, think about the power of passion? What are its positive and negative characteristics?

9 comments:

Steve Sensenig said...

Wow, great questions! It is sometimes very easy to substitute passion for true spirit experience.

I'm easily moved in my emotions. Tears come easily when considering our loving Father and his grace toward us.

But I never want my emotions to lead the way. I want them to follow the spirit.

Craig V. said...

I suspect it's wise to be suspicious of passions. One key, it seems to me, is to look for self deception. Passion can be used to cover as much as motivate. For example, suppose I watch a movie about the horrible poverty in Haiti. I weep, but I don't do anything else. My passion might then be a way of thinking I care, convincing myself that I'm a caring person. This may even have a group dynamic as you point out. It becomes a group sanctioned way to hide how comfortable we actually are with the sad truth that we have much and our brothers and sisters in Christ that live in Haiti have little. We all have a good cry and feel better about ourselves. James would rightly point out that such tears are of no use to those in need.

The same may be true of a 'spiritual' experience. A group dynamic may manipulate our feelings so that we are deeply moved. Being deeply moved, however, may be more of a cover up for our lack of spirituality than an indicator of true spirituality. Steve points us in a good direction. True spirituality is being led by the Spirit. The tangible result is not just passion but the fruit of the Spirit.

George said...

Good post and good comments. Do we all mean the same thing by passion? I'd say an intensity of feeling, desire, and conviction. Lots of emotion/feeling. A craving to obtain. Being convinced I am right in wanting this (whatever).

As Steve says, if it comes from a unity with the Spirit, then fine. But if from my own desires, not so good. I would rather that God give me the desires my heart should have than that God would give me the desires my heart comes up with by itself.

Passion without connection is, as Craig said, a feel-good cathartic. I suppose many believe that's what Christianity is intended to be, but that's not what I'm taught.

ded said...

Steve, Craig, and George...

Thanks for commenting.

Craig, I like the way your comment,"...not just passion but fruit>>>" doesn't negate passion but channels it. I think this is what I am wrestling with here. Passion seems such a part of me, I don't want to lose it, but neither do I want to be misguided by it.

George, great to have you visiting back here again. Your comment is once again, pithy. I wish I could learn how to do that!

Steve Sensenig said...

...not just passion but the fruit...

I like passion fruit. Does that count? ;)

ded said...

Do you pick your passion fruit in a corn field by any chance, Steve?

Steve Sensenig said...

Are you saying my joke was corny? ;)

George said...

"Steve, there's a kernel of truth in what you say," said Tom huskily.

ded said...

I can't decide whether or not I should laugh or get out my corn harvester.