My wife is shameless, I’ve realized.
Hi, this is Brad posting, by the way.
Lela and I have been having a conversation with a friend about shame versus guilt in 21 century America and, in the course, of that conversation, I’ve realized that Lela won’t be shamed into changing her mind about almost anything. I, on the other hand ….
One of the things you learn in 12 Step work is that we alcoholics (addicts of any sort, really) filter everything through a lens of shame. This is often described to me as feeling you’re not adequate or being embarrassed by where you come from or your past. Guilt is said to grow out of shame, but I’ve always felt that wasn’t quite right because having a conscience is not, in my opinion, a bad thing. It’s what the Christian group the Newsboys called “a circuit judge.” When someone doesn’t feel guilt, they can justify anything. Guilt keeps us from doing all kinds of horrible things to our neighbors.
Mark, a friend who holds a PhD in psychology, a Masters in Social Work and a Masters in Christian Counseling, asked us to read a manuscript he’s working on about shame and guilt in the 21st century. I think we’re what Lela calls “alpha readers.” It’s changed my view (no shame needed) on guilt and shame and it’s made me understand my wife better.
Guilt is an awareness of failure against a standard. Shame is a sense of failure before the eyes of someone else.
Christian should be aware of our failure against God’s standards. Paul explained the struggle of Christians who desire to do God’s will, but find their flesh weak. All Christians should be examining themselves against God’s standard and asking “Do I represent my Savior in the way that He has asked to be represented?”
Shame is our fear of the censure of our social group, what Mark describes as our tribe. Some tribes raise their off-spring with more fear of letting down the group than others do. My tribe — very shame-based. Lela’s tribe … apparently not so much.
To a certain extent there is nothing wrong with shame. It’s been 21 years now since my church disfellowshipped me to force me to look at who I had become and just shy of 20 years since they, upon my repentance, forgave me and let me back in. That “shaming and shunning” saved my life and my marriage. So, in some ways, I’m a fan of shame, which on occasion has taken the place of guilt for me. I didn’t feel guilty for my behavior back then and, if I ever started to, I quickly got drunk so I would stop feeling that way. Shame was necessary to bring me to repentance.
But back to my wife. You have no idea how much she loves people and wants them to come to the Lord. A part of that for her is being honest with the gospel and striving always to live up to the standard God set. She’s not perfect, but very few women would have taken me back after the things that I did both to her and out in the world. What always amazes me, when we’re disagreeing and I bring up the past to hurt her, she doesn’t do it back to me. She walks the talk of Romans 8:1 — “There is no condemnation” though I know sometimes it isn’t her first instinct.
Our daughter has a T-shirt that reads “I Am Not Ashamed — Romans 1:16). I can see why non-Christians want Christians to be ashamed of the gospel of Christ and will chip away at the edges of it until we have nothing left of the gospel to not be ashamed of. That’s the world obeying its father and we shouldn’t be surprised. That Christians allow themselves to be silenced by the world’s shaming saddens me but it doesn’t really surprise me. The apostles had already seen it happen by the close of the New Testament.
What does surprise me is the Christians today seeking to make other Christians ashamed of parts of the Bible because … well, you tell me?
Are you ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ? You know you can’t have it both ways, right? Right now, you reject the second half of Romans Chapter 1 and the world applauds you. What are you going to do when they demand you shed Romans 10 or John 3:16? You see, when you deem God’s gospel to be up for interpretation, you expose it to serious erosion and pretty soon, none of it means anything at all. The world is looking for that opportunity and you’re giving it to them on a silver platter. Congratulations!
Do you deem friendship with the world so valuable that you will represent God falsely? Do you think that will somehow make the gospel more palatable to them? It won’t! (James 4:4)
Do you honestly think something will quit being a sin after you’ve stopped defining it as a sin? (Romans 6:1) You have no understanding God if you do.
Before you accused me of trying to shame you, think seriously about God’s standard and whether you might be guilty of failure against it.
While you’re doing that, maybe you should read this book of the Bible and see if you really know God like you say you do.
Have you ever wondered how the speculative fiction greats created their realistic fantasy worlds? Me, too.
Yes, I’m a fantasy author, but I stand in awe of writers like JRR Tolkein, Katharine Kerry, Brandon Sanderson and Kate Elliott in their ability to make the magical seem real.
Some of them have been kind enough to blog about how they do it and I have learned a lot from that, which I now pass on to you.
The world we live in is magical. You may not realize that because it seems to familiar, but creating a fantasy world means building a world based upon reality and making sure that the reader knows the rules of that world. For readers to accept and continue to read a story, the write must make them believe in the world the characters inhabit. Characters must remain true to the rules of that world throughout the story for readers to accept what is happening to them.
- R. R. Tolkien depicted Middle Earth as a world so real that it has become a classic upon which so many others are based. Tolkien created Middle-earth, the lovable hobbits, the psychic elves and the irrepressible dwarves with incredible description and attention to details. The story contains all the elements of a traditional fantasy — a bumbling hero, an enchanted talisman, dark magic versus the good wizard, and an quest. It’s the gold standard in fantasy fiction.
How to attain something similar in your own writing? It’s not magic. I know I don’t have a wand. I did, however, study about how the greats created worlds their readers readily accepted.
The setting must be believable.
- Characters should dress appropriately for the period and culture.
- Weapons must be appropriate to the world.
- If magic is involved, the writer should define the rules of magic and stick with them throughout their tale.
That looks like a perfect table of contents for a series, so see you next week.
Do you like to read? Wouldn’t you like to know more about your favorite authors? Well you came to the right place! Join the MMB Open Book Blog Hop each Wednesday and we will tell all. Every week we’ll answer questions and after you’ve enjoyed the Blog on this site, I’ll direct you to another. So come back often for a thrilling ride! Tell your friends and feel free to ask questions in the comment box.
If you are stopping by author Christine Ardigo has shared her favorite recipes with you. Thank you, Paula, for the great introduction. Folks should check out her blog by clicking the hyperlink.
This is my inaugural post for the MMB Open Book Blog Hop. My friend Patti Fiala invited me to join.
QUESTION OF THE WEEK! Food, share a recipe or two and why you love it. Where did you get the recipe or from whom?
It’s somewhat fitting that it’s about recipes. My father was a professional chef and my mom was a diner waitress, so I grew up in a restaurant kitchen. Hamburgers were the family dinner as well as the family business.
I don’t cook like my folks did, but I thank them for instilling an adventuresome culinary spirit in me.
Here is my family’s favorite dish — Burmese Chicken Curry, courtesy of a friend (Barbara) who was a missionary there. We like it because it is a milder curry that allows us to enjoy some spice without overwhelming our pallets.
2 to 2 1/2 lbs Chicken deboned and skin removed*
3 small onions, chopped fine or grated
2 clove of garlic, minced
3 T soy sauce
2 tsp chile powder or cayenne pepper
1 tsp tumeric or curry powder
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp powdered ginger
1/2 cup vegetable or peanut oil*
1 cup water
Combine chicken, onions, garlic, soy sauce and seasonings in a sauce pan. Coat the chicken in mixture. Saute until lightly browned. Stir in oil and water. Cover and cook over medium heat until chicken is tender – about 1/2 hour.
We like carrots with this dish. You can do them a variety of ways — buttered, mildly curried, or bronzed. My favorite is lightly buttered, then lightly coated in a mixture of cinnamon and ground ginger.
While the curry is simmering, prepare rice — about 1/2 cup dry for each serving. I like medium grain white because it cooks quickly, but you can use brown rice if you prefer the taste. Add the rice to cold water and then bring it to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover for 15 minutes on low. This will give you the nice sticky consistence of Asian rice.
* You can make this dish with a variety of meats. Turkey and pork will work and we have used game bird and beaver meat.
*Peanut oil is not a requirement. Any oil with a fairly high smoke point is good — I’ve tried saffalo, vegetable and seseme oil. Olive oil imparts an unwelcome taste to this dish. Peanut oil provides the flavor without adding peanut butter which we tried and liked.
If you really like desert with dinner, aim for fresh fruit.
Wow, I need to make that this weekend. It’s been a while. What are you cooking? What are some of your favorite recipes? Don’t forget to stop by and visit author Kelly Williams. I wonder what she’s cooking up.