good fear, guilt and shame

There are obvious reasons why fear, guilt and shame have a bad reputation inside and outside the Church.  There is really no need to illustrate this point, but… Fear of judgment, rejection or punishment can be crippling. Guilt that is exaggerated, overly-negative or simply mistaken is paralyzing. Shame, too, when it is insulting, degrading and… Continue reading good fear, guilt and shame

grace and human effort

At the heart of the Christian faith is a conviction that salvation is God’s doing.  God takes the initiative in establishing, maintaining and perfecting the relationship with all of creation, and humans in particular.  Without God, there would be no salvation.  Period. This conviction has tended to be accompanied by an emphasis that downplays the… Continue reading grace and human effort

political Christianity

Let me open with an if/then statement.  If Christianity is anything more than B.I.B.L.E. (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth), and I heartily believe it is, then it necessarily has to do with how the wholeness of life is played out in the here and now.  This means Christianity necessarily has a political component to it. … Continue reading political Christianity

varieties of shame

Following on from the last post, I’ve been thinking more about possibly helpful – or at least unavoidable – forms of shame. First, I want to acknowledge just how unhelpful some forms of shame can be.  I think shame is most unhelpful when it focuses on the person and not the behaviour.  “You should be ashamed of… Continue reading varieties of shame

on guilt and shame

It seems to be an unquestioned assumption in modern western culture that guilt and shame are bad, unhealthy and unhelpful.  Most of the moral discourse is dominated by statements that flow directly from these assumptions. I can relate!  Who wants to feel guilty?  Who enjoys shame?  Not only that, both guilt and shame are shot… Continue reading on guilt and shame

moral fear

Ethical discourse, I suggest, is degraded and corrupted by fear.  I’m not talking about the healthy protective fear that flows from love, but rather the unhelpful power-grasping fear that is its own source.  Below I’ll suggest two equal-opposite examples of this power-grasping fear, and then I’ll offer a suggestion about a third, ‘middle’ way. On… Continue reading moral fear

ordinary sin

The doctrine of Sin has been something I’ve had an interest in for a while, and some of my research and writing has touched on both sin and the forgiveness of sin.  I think it’s a very important doctrine, and thus very important to understand with clarity and balance. Scholars of Aristotle and Aquinas will… Continue reading ordinary sin

the uncomfortable freedom of Grace

I just finished a job at work, and not only did it take longer than I thought (I had to return to the job site to fix things), I didn’t do as good a job at it as I would have liked to.  The clients are satisfied and will pay the invoice, but the workmanship… Continue reading the uncomfortable freedom of Grace

fruitful engagement with ‘other’ beliefs

I’ve had various interactions with various ‘non-orthodox’ (a.k.a. heretical) religious movements, and I grew up within one.  In my earlier, younger and sadly more arrogant stages, these interactions could easily become more heated, longer, and less productive than they should have been.  I just had another much more positive interaction with three young, polite Mormons. … Continue reading fruitful engagement with ‘other’ beliefs