I read quite a bit of Stoic philosophy and thus realize that it is far more nuanced than simply detachment and reserve. But detachment and reserve; a purposeful attempt to avoid all trouble is the popular form of the concept. A cheaper and American version is to simply avoid all thoughts of something “negative”; which is a kind of ostrich happiness. I will be happy by simply not knowing. We have even medicalized this, so that feeling bad is a disease (and yes, I know there are severe cases of depression which are quite different than merely feeling sadness, loss, and such).
There is a tacit belief among som Christians, that a stoic dullness to trouble; a complete equanimity to all things is a kind of holiness. If something bad takes place, I should not care. This is matched by a kind of stoicism to trouble as a sign of mental health.
There is much to be said for not being troubled; but that standard alone is insufficient to respond to all things. Should we be untroubled at injustice? She we be untroubled at death of those whom we love? The examples are easy to multiply.
The fault would not be in sorrow, fear, love, anger, et cetera. The trouble is the whether and when of such affections. The trouble as Christianity would have it is not that one expresses some emotion, but rather the question of whether the affection is based upon a true and right understand. What we need is not a placid soul. What we need are rightly calibrated affections:
In this psalm you find the man of God under divers passions, sometimes of joy, sometimes of sorrow, sometimes of hope and courage, and sometimes of fear. As there is a time for all things in this world, there are several conditions and duties that we run through, and we have affections planted in us that suit with every condition. Religion doth not nullify, but sanctify our affections. Some have vainly thought affections to be an after-growth of noisome weeds in our nature corrupted; whereas they are wholesome herbs, implanted in us by God at our first creation, of great use to grace when rightly stirred and ordered:
Thomas Manton, The Complete Works of Thomas Manton, vol. 8 (London: James Nisbet & Co., 1872), 230.