Bonnie Jerke

Date of Award


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This graduate research project entitled, "Emotional Freedom for the Christian Though Communication: A Study Course for Adults," contains four chapters of basic information under the major headings of accepting, understanding, living with, and communicating with one's emotions. This process within the headings as adapted from James C. Coleman's Psychology and Effective Behavior in which her explains the steps to mastery of emotions as follows: (1) understand and accept them, (2) function with them and not against them, and (3) find constructive ways to express them. The practical outgrowth of these four chapters is the final chapter, a study course for adults. Therefore, these two sections combined fulfill the primary purpose of the paper which is the prepare a guide to be used in teaching about the communication of emotions or feelings in the church setting. The ultimate aim us building healthy personalities and relationships.

Chapter two deals with a Christian's acceptance of his emotions through a discussion of the relationship to the image of God in man, to sin, and to the new life. The chapter is written from the Wesleyan-Arminian perspective. It is determined that emotions are a part of the natural image of God in man and therefore a part of that creation from the beginning. In addition, because of the fall, it is evident that emotion is affected by original sin, but is not actual sin until an actual choice is made in that direction regarding that emotion. Lastly, it is emphasized that the Christian has freedom in his emotional life through the Holy Spirit as he is no longer under the power of sin. He can grow in grace.

Chapter three deals with the understanding of emotions in the areas of their nature, misuse, and relationship to thoughts and values. For the Christian to know the meaning of emotion. the physical aspects of it, its development and patterns enables him to recognize emotion for what it is and deal with it accordingly. A presentation of the misuse of emotion with particular emphasis on defense mechanisms and games people play, gives one the opportunity to evaluate himself and how he deals with is emotions and reality. The final discussion of thoughts and values reinforces the idea that Christians do have a measure of control over their emotional reactions. This knowledge is presented in order to reduce inhibitions toward emotions and its expression.

Chapter four focuses on living with emotions. The emphases are on growth toward wholeness, the use of choice, and verbal expression. Descriptions of wholeness are provided to allow the Christian to relate this to his growth in Christlikeness. In the area of emotion, the process of growth toward freedom of emotional expression is discussed. The power of choice is emphasized for the Christian and elaborated in choosing to be real to trust and risk, to be private, to be responsible, and choosing to change. Expression of emotion is explained as a necessity for man and encouraged as a life-style.

Chapter five explores constructive ways of communication emotion as discussed by selected authors. It focuses on communication as the constructive way of dealing with emotion. The work of the following authors is resented: John Powell, Thomas Gordon, William Piestsch, Virginia Satir, David Augsburger, and George Bach. These authors advocate emotions and feelings as normal and natural and require an honest sharing of feelings for effective communication. In addition, communication requires a nonjudgmental attitude and a type of listening in which one can restate of clarify a message (feeling and content) to the speaker's satisfaction. Emotional freedom and good relationships result.

Chapter six contains the study course which is a practical, Biblical application of the body of the study. The topical and relational Bible studies are divided into these units: (1) to love God, (2) to love self, and (3) to love others. The eight lessons are designed to complete the entire learning process including fellowship, approach, exposition and response, and conclusion and decision as the four parts of the hour. The learner is active in discover and guided actively by the teacher toward life application. The learner is able to practice the communication process. Teacher instructions and materials are included.

This study on emotional freedom is designed to teach the Christian about his emotions and give him a way of living constructively with them. It is mean to enable him to build effective relationships and in addition to enable him to serve as an effective "lay-counselor" to his fellowman.

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Christianity Commons