Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Unearned emotion

Writing about "Thomas Kinkade’s Cottage Fantasy," Joe Carter [and Alan Jacobs] clarify a distinction important not only in art, but, I think, in how we approach worship:
Sentimentality, as literary critic Alan Jacobs says in a recent interview with Mars Hill Journal, encourages us to “suspend judgment and reflection in order to indulge deliberately in emotion for its own sake.” Reflection reinforces and strengthens true emotions while exposing those feelings that are shallow and disingenuous. Sentimentalists, however, try to avoid this experience of reality and try to keep people from asking questions by giving them pleasing emotions they have not earned. The shameless manipulation of our emotions, says Jacobs, is the ultimate act of cynicism.
Thomas Kinkade’s Cottage Fantasy | First Things