The Emotional Brain: The Mysterious Underpinnings of Emotional Life

Joseph LeDoux

Whatever else emotion is, it involves neurons and chemicals. Any adequate understanding of human emotions must grasp the basics of how our nervous system works. Neuroscientist Joseph LeDoux lays bare the biological underpinnings of our feelings, clarifying the role played by brain processes and memory.

Finding Quiet: My Story of Overcoming Anxiety and the Practices that Brought Peace

J. P. Moreland

Moreland draws from personal experience and professional expertise to share ideas and practices that help in the battle with anxiety. He is especially helpful in rebutting the idea that our emotions come from our soul and not from our holistically embodied self. This short book is rich with insight and practical wisdom for sufferers.

The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog: What Traumatized Children Can Teach Us About Loss, Love, and Healing

Bruce D. Perry and Maia Szalavitz

Too often, Christians fail to grasp the generational legacy of attentive parenting as it bears on a child’s emotional well-being. Working with journalist Maia Szalavitz, psychiatrist Bruce Perry draws on his clinical experience to tell heartbreaking but hopeful stories of the emotional toll of neglect on children. The problems caused by neglect are complicated, but helping often involves simple acts of loving attention.

Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold

C. S. Lewis

In Till We Have Faces, Lewis retells the myth of Cupid and Psyche, but with a twist. The book shows how self-deception can lurk near the core of our most-cherished feelings. Psyche’s sister Orual wears a veil that symbolizes her projected self-image; when the veil is removed, so is the depth of her ugly self-obsession. Lewis compels us to ask how we might speak to God without our own masks of self-deception.

The Logic of Desire: Aquinas on Emotion

Nicholas E. Lombardo

This is an introduction to how Thomas Aquinas understood human emotions. Lombardo argues that the “passions” are at the core of human flourishing. They differ from cognition and choice, though they are not blindly irrational. They are bound up both with the dispositions of our body and the formation of virtue. Aquinas’s view of human emotion is surprisingly prescient, anticipating modern neuroscientific insights.

Matthew LaPine is is pastor of theological development at Cornerstone Church and lecturer at Salt School of Theology in Ames, Iowa.

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