Emotions, Wisdom, and Human Flourishing

Date(s) - 04/25/2015
9:00 am - 1:45 pm

First Presbyterian Church


Emotions, Wisdom, and Human Flourishing
April 25, 9:00 a.m. to 1:45 p.m.
First Presbyterian Church, Dallas

Emotions have attracted lots of attention from theologians from St. Augustine to Paul Tillich. Since the earliest philosophers explored their meaning, the importance of emotions in our every day lives has only increased. Identifying, understanding and managing persons’ emotional states has become big business, from pastoral care and counseling, to leadership development in for-profit companies, to pharmaceutical companies and self help books. However, the study of emotions has not been taken up sufficiently in theology and practice; pastoral practitioners, for example, accept that emotions are an important factor in our pursuit of the Good Life. However, the emotions are under-theorized; we do not understand them as fully as we might, and do not learn from them as much as we ought. Understanding emotions from historical, sociological as well as from more recent theological perspectives will help us glean better the wisdom they offer, guiding our practices and contributing more effectively to a world in which all can flourish.

20150425B_McClureBarbara J. McClure, Associate Professor in Pastoral Theology and Practice, Brite Divinity School
Barbara J. McClure’s interests lie primarily in the meaning of and means toward human flourishing. She has pursued this question in a variety of contexts including institutions of work, worship and learning, as well as within the context of a counseling practice. Her interests and commitments are deeply informed by her experience of being born and raised for twenty years in remote areas of East Africa as the daughter and granddaughter of Presbyterian (PCUSA) missionaries. Prior to joining the Brite faculty, McClure taught at Vanderbilt University Divinity School. She has written two books: Moving Beyond Individualism in Pastoral Theology, Care and Counseling: Reflections on Theory, Theology and Practice (2010) and Rethinking Feelings: Understanding the Complexity of Emotions and Implications for Pastoral Theology (2014).