Why do we grieve so little, publicly? In particular, why is there such a paucity of grieving in the church?
David Ker thinks that it would help if our church music were a bit more Bon Jovi-ish.
Codepoke suggests, in response, that the problem is not so much with the music, but rather with the whole way we “do” church.
Others argue that it’s a much wider cultural issue, and the church’s lack of space for public grieving follows the cultural trends.
Bob Hyatt, in a post entitled, “Don’t Forget to Grieve” says this:
And we wonder why so many of us struggle with a persistent, low-level depression. Maybe just maybe, its because when we should, we refuse to grieve. We hold in the tears, when they should come out and find that the emotion we should give vent to in appropriate ways tends to leak out in other ways, at other times- some not nearly so appropriate or healthy.
I’m absolutely amazed when I see television coverage of third-world countries, particularly the coverage of disasters. When I see the keening, wailing women, the men tearing their clothes from their bodies and even the hair from their heads in anguish, I realize how emotionally impoverished we stoics in America are. I realize that the grief and mourning which the Bible actually speaks highly of, is completely missing from our vocabulary. We’ve lost the ability to grieve.
Without disagreeing with any of these perspectives, I’ve been thinking about yet another angle of the complicatedness of public, corporate grieving. My thinking on this came from an article a friend showed me recently in Scientific American. I’m working on the draft for that post, but it keeps spinning off into different rabbit trails. So, I’ve stopped writing it for a minute and am heading down one of those little side trails.
Have you seen those emotions charts, which are meant to help you put words to what you’re feeling? Have you ever noticed how they tend to be stilted towards negative emotions? The following chart from Dr. Phil’s website is pretty typical. Only about one in four of the emotions illustrated are positive. It makes me curious about why that is. What do you think?