Join Me for a Webinar

Ancient Faith has started a new series of webinars and has invited me to be one of their presenters. Join me for this evening of thought and conversation. Your participation will help us continue this venue in the future!

I have had wonderful conversations on the blog regarding the topic of shame. This webinar will look at the role of “healthy shame” in the experience of encountering God. We will look at the boundaries both within the heart as well as in the realm of the Kingdom of God and how they effect our approach to God.

Follow this link to register for the evening. I hope to see you there!

 

8 comments:

  1. Dear Fr. Freeman:
    Perhaps this entry from my soon-to-be-published book will be of interest to you:

    “On this basis alone I should be able to say this issue is settled once and for all, rejecting completely the wretched Western ideas found in such lurid tales as Jonathan Edwards’ infamous Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. Edwards’ description of human beings as “loathsome spiders held over the fires of hell” is no description of how God views mankind. God is not viewed as loving Father, but as disconnected third party who has no emotional stake in the outcome of the sinner. Such a view not from a heart of love, but from Edward’s same intellectual and spiritual darkness, the same darkness which rejected the Sacraments, the Church, and what the Apostles taught. A man whose intellect is this darkened is in no way capable of giving an accurate understanding of either what love truly is or the Father who is love. I feel the same must be said of the numerous Roman Catholic visions in which God is always portrayed as angry and ready to pounce upon sinners for our sins. Such people have religion, and are very devoted to the practices found in it. For the uninitiated, watching their devotion infers that they are close to God and know of Him intimately. I would beg to differ. There is a great deal of psychology invested in religious devotion, and some of it is not from a position of being psychologically healthy.

    What psychology lies behind this? I believe it is shame-based. In his book, Healing Your Wounded Soul, Father Joshua Makoul, says: “In our broken world, many Christians find their spiritual progress hindered or stalled by psychological wounds from their past.” He discusses how trauma creates shame in us. There is shame over guilt, which is a proper and true shame, and then there is shame over just being ourselves because we have been made to feel unworthy, unlovable, and a mistake of being. It is a shame born from being traumatized, unwanted, unappreciated, unloved. I believe a case can be made that we feel this same shame before God. We sense our being is wrong, but rather than seeing God as loving Father who waits to heal us, we feel condemned.

    One of the ways in which the pain of such self-condemnation is dealt with is by adopting the defense of perfectionism. Perfectionism is a safe niche in life where the conscience can be muted. It is a small step from there to find a group of like-minded people in which we can together drown out the voice of our shame by fervently living the path we have chosen and looking down on the rest of Christianity as not being worthy of God’s love because they have not accepted our beliefs. Those of us who struggle with this shame have come to believe that God loves us for what we are doing to be perfect Christians. We are perfect in belief, in our worship, in how we act in the world, and how we treat our fellow man. All who do not agree with us are deserving of eternal punishment because they are not doing exactly what God wants. 66

    If God loves others in their brokenness, then this poses a real threat to me, for I can no longer silence the voice of my shame before God by being perfect in all I do. If God accepts them as they are, then I have to be who I am before Him also, and my shame will not let me do this. People who bear shame from childhood trauma cannot believe they can be loved for being who they are, therefore they must be constantly doing something to earn love and to feel worthy. I honestly believe this is at the heart of the psychology of punishment. This need for personal affirmation overrides the reality that God is love – a love so rich, so deep, so unimaginable that we cannot understand it when it even loves its enemies. Judging others can make us feel we are actually pretty good and worthy of God’s love, while they are certainly worthy of hell. This is a deception, one borne out of the darkness in which we struggle, not understanding the fullness of the mercy of God. ”

    I would be interested in your take on this. I will plan on attending the webinar, God willing.

  2. I’ve signed up and registered!

    I’ll be entering late because of a class I’m teaching. I wonder whether I might be able to hear a recording for what I will miss?

  3. Father, do you know if we register but aren’t able to attend, if we will be able to view at a later date?

  4. Fr. Stephen, I am looking forward to your webinar. Your words resonate with me and I pray God continues to bless you and your work. 🙏🏼☦️🕊

    ~ DiDi

  5. By a streak of good luck, the webinar ends just as my workday begins in my time zone, so I have signed up. This seems like a great idea, and it may well strengthen this online community.
    This is supposed to be “interactive”, but I have a feeling I’ll sit quietly in the back and marvel at the insights. 🙂

  6. I am looking forward to attend it, even though it will be 2:00 AM in my time zone. I will probably listen to the recording later, to make sure I got all the message, in case I dozed.

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