Blog Archives

Teaching in Honor-Shame Cultures: 5 Must Knows

In 2001 I taught American literature at a university in Central Asia. It was my first year living overseas, and the experience of teaching cross-culturally caused many instances of culture shock. I enjoyed the friendships with students, but I resented
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Posted in Culture, Honor, Relationships, Shame

Exposing the Truth about Honor and Shame: The 4 Dimensions Christians Must Understand

This article, co-authored with Jackson Wu, was originally posted at Christianity Today on Ed Stetzer’s blog (Feb 16). Shame is getting exposed, finally. Commentators now observe how Western culture, especially the millennial generation, is becoming more shame-prone. Consequently, more Westerners are
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Posted in Culture, Honor, Resources, Shame, Theology

Improving Anselm’s Atonement Theory

Anselm’s satisfaction theory (explanation here) has shaped Western atonement theory. Unfortunately, Anselm’s theology “went wrong” in two ways: (1) Anselm himself overlooked key parts of biblical theology, and (2) then latter theologians misinterpreted Anselm.  Making Anselm More Biblical Anselm’s Cur
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Posted in Bible, Honor, Jesus, NT, OT, salvation, Shame, Sin, Theology, Wesetern

Atonement for Honor-Shame Cultures

In terms of honor and shame, how does Christ’s death atone for sin? This question got answered 1,000 years ago by Anselm, a Benedictine monk and archbishop of Canterbury who developed the “satisfaction” atonement theory. Anselm’s work Cur Deus Homo
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Posted in Christology, Honor, Jesus, Jesus Christ, salvation, Shame, Sin, Theology

Does God Shame Christians?

God’s salvation causes shame. After God atones for your sins, then you will have shame. God wants his people to feel shame.  In Ezekiel 16, God denounces Israel for becoming vile sluts and shameless whores. Then he says to them:
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Posted in Honor, Jesus, salvation, Shame, Sin, Theology

Can You Shame God?

Can you shame God? The biblical answer is yes. Though this may initially sound sacrilegious, the fact that people shame God pervades scripture and profoundly impacts your relationship with God. People despise and scorn God. In other words, we fail to
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Posted in Bible, Honor, NT, OT, Shame, Theology

A Better Definition of Honor-Shame Cultures—”Connection”

How might we define “honor-shame cultures”? Many people implicitly associate “honor-shame culture” with “violence.” Westerners perceive honor-shame cultures as aggressive and combative. This reason (proposed in my prior post) is because the Western mind perceives honor-based violence as “senseless” and “incomprehensible,” unlike the
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Posted in Culture, Honor, Relationships, Shame

A Western Bias: “Honor-Shame Cultures are Violent”

“Cultures of honor and shame are violent.” This common assumption is a myth rooted in a pejorative cultural bias. Westerners often define honor-shame cultures by their violent retaliation against personal slights. People in honor-shame cultures are sensitive about their reputation,
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Posted in Culture, Honor, Shame, Wesetern

5 Reasons the West is Becoming More Shame Based

“Young people these days are becoming more shame based.” The previous post showed how data from TheCultureTest.com collaborates this common observation. But this observation naturally evokes the “why?” question. Why is Western culture becoming more shame based? Here I identify are
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Posted in Culture, Honor, Shame, Wesetern

The Rise of Shame in America

Younger people in the West are becoming more sensitive to shame.Western culture as a whole, not just particular segments, appears to be shifting from guilt and toward shame. The Christianity Today cover article “The Return of Shame” noted how “shame is
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Posted in Culture, Honor, Shame, Wesetern

Microaggressions and “Reverse Honor”: America’s Latest Moral System

A new moral system has emerged in America. It is shaped by the language of privilege, class, bias, inequality, tolerance, and inclusion. This new moral system has taken definitive expression in the issue of microaggressions.Microaggressions are “brief, everyday exchanges that
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Posted in Culture, Honor, Shame, Wesetern

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