Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Book Review: Facing Feelings in Faith Communities

Alban Publishing has recently released some very practical and pastoral books for both clergy and lay leaders, among them is William Kondrath's new book, Facing Feelings in Faith Communities (Herndon, VA: Alban, 2013). Kondrath is the William Lawrence Professor of Pastoral Theology and Director of Theological Field Education at the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, MA. In addition to teaching he is also a creative consultant, multicultural trainer, as well as an executive coach. His many years teaching and consulting comes through in this book. If you are a pastor or lay leaders and want to learn more about your own feelings and how feelings and emotions impact ones family and the local parish then look no further, this is the book for you.

Kondrath is truly an expert and knows his material yet he does not get caught up in academic and scholarly talk. Surely he is trained and has plenty of real life and academic experience but he writes as if he is in the room with you guiding you along the way.

Most of us have all sorts of feelings: anger, sadness, grief, joy, happiness, and probably a lot of shame and guilt mixed in, I know I do. If you're human you have feelings. Kondrath takes these different feelings, dissects and explains them using real life examples, and then shows us how these feelings can also impact our fellow parishioners. After being for a pastor for a while I realized that so many of the problems that I encountered were not what I would call problems that could be solved but people coming and expressing their feelings in some what "inappropriate manners" such as lashing out, exhibiting passive agressive behavior, and so forth. Ask any pastor and they will all agree, folks come to us with feelings about God, about their faith, about their parents and project it on us!

Facing Feelings is divided up into ten rather short chapters and one of the great benefits of this book in particular is that each chapter has a series of questions pertaining to that particular feeling whether it be anger, sadness, joy, or fear. I took time out and wrote in my journal as I read through this book and I hope you do to. These questions can also be used for small group discussions as well.

The book also has a great series of footnotes for further reading and I'll make sure to follow up on some of them since I still have a lot more to learn about my emotions and feelings!

For more information about Facing Feelings click here