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Good on diagnosis I think...

[ted id=1126]

As for cure...

Dealing with self-righteousness takes more than pointing out its folly.  Or showing the broad vistas of human discovery that open up when we "step outside the tiny terrified space of rightness".  Maybe it's just me, but the minute I make that step on the road to open-hearted humility, I start to feel superior to all those prudes, stuck in their "tiny spaces."  Is that just me?  Or is it also Ms Schulz?  And everyone who gets the "right" idea about wrongness?

Note how Jesus seeks to free us from self-righteousness in Matthew 6 (I recently wrote about it at the King's English).  Jesus doesn't say, "Don't care about reward and being seen.  Just do good people, it's not hard."

No.  Jesus knows we care deeply about being seen.  He knows we care deeply about reward.  And He doesn't seek to deny those urges for a second.  He just re-orients where we seek those things.  Instead we are to seek them in our Father who is unseen.

Same with rightness.  You can't just say "Don't get hung up on being right."  We're built to be right - for the Father to declare us "holy in His sight" (Col 1:22), for the Son to say "there is no flaw in you" (Song 4:7).  We can't just laugh off our silly rightness crusades as an easily discarded hang-up.

Our need to be right mustn't be denied, but fulfilled.  Fulfilled apart from any of our efforts or qualities, but no less fulfilled.  It sounds counter-intuitive, but I think it's true - the way to relinquish our petty insistence on rightness is to know that we're perfect.

[ted id=1042]

What Brene Brown says:

Connection is why we're here

But shame = fear of disconnection

Everyone has shame. The only people without shame have no capacity for empathy

No one wants to talk about shame but the less you talk about it, the more you have it

For connection to happen you have to be allowed to be seen


Those who are connected have a sense of worthiness, a strong sense of love and belonging

They exhibit these factors

Courage (wholeheartedness) to be imperfect

Compassion to be kind to themselves first and then to others

Connection as a result of authenticity.  They let go of who they *should* be to be who they are.

Fully embraced vulnerability - what made them vulnerable made them beautiful


We numb vulnerability

We are the most in debt, obese, addicted and medicated cohort in US history

So we numb it

Trouble is, you cannot selectively numb emotion

We make the uncertain certain

This is what religion and politics have become

We perfect

We pretend - that what we do doesn't have an effect on people


What we need is to...

Let ourselves be seen

Love with our whole hearts

Practice gratitude, lean into joy

Believe I am enough



Inspiring stuff.  Some apt observations.  But let's think for a second.  Isn't this an empirical researcher urging us to have metaphysical convictions.  We need to believe certain things.  And we need to believe them because they seem to work.

Isn't this basically "the power of positive thinking" dressed up a bit?

We want connection, we feel shame, but we need to open up nonetheless because that's what the wholehearted do, and we do so on the basis of the belief that we're worthy of love and belonging.

That last bit seems key for this whole thing to work.  But where does it come from?

If I had 5 minutes to talk about vulnerability I think I'd want to take three looks at the cross:

Look 1: Here is the LORD of Glory crucified.  Is vulnerability a fundamental value?  You bet.  Our God was dissected on full view of the world.  His vulnerability is glorious.  Our vulnerability is God-like.

Look 2: Here is where our sin takes us.  And yes I said sin not just shame.  We aren't just held back by 'fear of connection' but by dark hearts full of lust and murder.  We do not deserve connection but cutting off.  Without looking at things through this lens we dress the wound lightly.  "Embracing mess and authenticity" sounds like a meaningful Saturday afternoon with college friends around Lattes.  Not the diagnosis that can handle, for instance, the addictions Brown mentions.

Look 3: Here is the Lord's love for the dark-hearted.  Unconditional, counter-conditional grace for the disconnected. Brown hopes we'll value ourselves first and then others.  But deserved love is not the sort of love we're inclined to pass on.  "I'm worth it" terminates on me.  It's only grace that really spreads.


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