Blog Archives

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

Unthankfulness = Sin. So, Happy Thanksgiving!

The English word “thanksgiving” means food and football. The biblical concept is far different. In honor-shame cultures, the ideology of patronage structures most relationships. This means clients are morally obligated to express thankfulness and gratitude to patrons. The failure to properly reciprocate
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Posted in Honor, Sin, Theology

How Self-Righteous Judaizers Boasted

The Problem with “Self-Righteousness”The term “self-righteous” is not a biblical term. Yes, the Bible does speak about a type of righteousness that is not of God, but the nature of this false-righteousness is rather different than commonly assumed.Romans 10:3 speaks about this
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Posted in Bible, Culture, Evangelism, Theology

How David Sinned with Bathsheba

When David slept with Bathsheba (2 Sam 11:1-13), why was that sin? David thought nothing was amiss, “but the thing that David had done displeased Yahweh” (2 Sam 11:27). Exactly why was God displeased? Despite common assumptions, the Bible does not portray David’s
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Posted in OT, Relationships, Shame, Sin, Theology

An Answer for Addiction

What is addiction? How is addiction healed? This new TED talk—“Everything You Think You Know About Addiction is Wrong”—connects these questions about addiction to shame and honor (granted, it uses language besides “honor” and “shame” to do so). Research shows
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Posted in Communication, Culture, Honor, Ministry, Missiology, Relationships, Resources, Shame, Sin, Spirituality

Did Bathsheba Seduce David?

Did Bathsheba purposefully seek to seduce David when bathing? Some books say Bathsheba “intended” to be seen by the king, presumably to seduce David and get closer to the seat of power. But I think this is misreading Scripture. The Bible portrays
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Posted in OT, Theology, Uncategorized

Does God “Slut-Shame”?

Does God slut-shame? (FYI, “slut-shaming” means making someone, usually a woman or girl, feel inferior for deviating from traditional gender expectations, especially in areas of sexuality.) Here are some Bible verses similar to the language of slut shaming:You played the whore because
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Posted in Shame, Sin

Yes, I Do Believe in Sin.

I often hear this, “Your ideas about shame are helpful, but what about sin?” People assume that since I talk about God’s salvation from shame, that I don’t believe much about sin (which is a rather curious assumption IMO). So
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Posted in Culture, Shame, Sin, Theology

Thoughts on Sin and Shame

Recently Doug Coleman asked thoughtful questions about sin in honor-shame terms. Jackson Wu has engaged Coleman’s thoughts on his site (one, two, and three). I greatly appreciate their gracious and constructive tone during this “public conversation,” as they help us understand the nature of
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Posted in Honor, Shame, Sin, Theology

Charlie Hebdo, Being Human, & Gal 5

I happened to be in France the week after the Charlie Hebdo tragedy. Reactions to the events revealed the rather large gap between the cultural values of “individualism” and “collectivism.” Yet, the incident surrounding Charlie Hebdo reveals not only two distinct
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Posted in Culture, Honor, NT, Sin

The Disgraced Human Family (Gen 4-11)

After the fall of Adam and Eve, the storyline of Genesis reads like a season of Arrested Development (or any other sitcom about a dysfunctional family) – a series of episodes featuring the human family’s disgrace and dysfunction.  Humans sense
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Posted in OT, Shame, Sin, Theology

The Shame of Original Sin (Gen 3)

Adam and Eve’s glorious and shame-free life did not last long. They sin, and shame enters the world.  (Previous posts on their honor at a creation – HERE and HERE.) After eating the fruit, Adam and Eve cover themselves with fig leaves.  They do
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Posted in OT, Shame, Sin, Theology

Why Shame is a HUGE Problem

Imagine the following scenarios: You have labored for two years developing an English program to reach the community.  When your director visits, he dismisses the purpose and value of the English ministry. You look out your front window, and see two neighbor
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Posted in Honor, Relationships, Sin, Theology

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