It’s been a very exciting week for me. We’re less than two weeks until the book comes out now. I got my hands on my copies on Tuesday. Yesterday, I was down in London for an interview with Premier Christian Radio. Today, I’ve been fielding questions and organising the launch event.
But at the same time, I’ve also been very active in my research this week, writing a chapter in a secular psychology book on shame that’s coming out next year, and getting involved in a theological study group. While the book has a lot of my personal story, I also really believe that if we’re speaking into issues like shame, what we say needs to be based on rigorous scholarship as well as personal testimonies – I’ve read a lot of books about shame that are either strong on personal stories but don’t have much theoretical weight behind them, or which are very dense in theory but don’t connect on the personal level. I hope I’ve managed to find a good balance between the two.
But if you do want something meatier and more theoretical, I want to point you at some of the research we’ve done to back up the book, so you can dig deeper into some of the details of what you’re reading:
- The chapter on Genesis 3, where we talk about shame being the primal response to sin and a problem of identity between Adam and Eve after losing their reference point from God, comes out of an exegetical paper I wrote with Christoph Ochs, “Have You No Shame?”: Reflections on a Missing Theological Category” (Journal of Theological Interpretation 13:2, 186-199). That’s not quite released yet, but should be out sometime this month.
- In “Putting the shameful body to death: some critiques and a way forward in the soteriology of shame” (Transformation 4:36, 233-245), Chris and I discuss some of the other discussions around a gospel for the shamed, before settling on the connection between shame and death, as well as on the way that Jesus subverted the honour/shame categories of his day.
- You might hear people talk about “shame cultures” and “guilt cultures”, which is not something I really subscribe to; I think we’re all affected by shame, although it manifests itself in different ways. “Shame Cultures, Fear Cultures, and Guilt Cultures: Reviewing the Evidence” (International Bulletin of Mission Research 42:4, 326-336) argues that this is an old-fashioned anthropological model that is hard to justify.
- I mention that the same word “shame” has many different meanings, and when missionaries talk about “shame” and when psychologists talk about “shame”, they’re actually talking about different things. As I explain in “What do we mean by the term “shame culture”?” (Australian Journal of Mission Studies 12:2, 24–27), we can get tripped up if we confuse these two aspects of shame.
As I’ve said, I continue to research and have more work on the theoretical side of shame coming out soon. I’ll make sure to list it here as it becomes available.