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

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

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

hegemony, homosexuality & homophobia

(Leftovers from a great and long chat with a good man today.) Almost 100 years ago, Antonio Gramsci proposed the idea of “cultural hegemony” where a powerful idea or culture carries immense and controlling force.  One key indicator that a hegemony is at work is when dissenting voices are kept silent out of fear. A conservative… Continue reading hegemony, homosexuality & homophobia