Neurotheology, Part 1: The Origins of Shame with Curt Thompson, MD
This week, we have the privilege of welcoming psychiatrist, speaker, and author, Curt Thompson, MD, to the Allender Center Podcast.
Curt skillfully guides us through a journey into the roots of shame within the human experience. He explores its emergence even before the infamous act of consuming the forbidden fruit, noting that the serpent’s temptation, often overlooked as an act of violence, effectively exploits and manipulates shame. This manipulation resonates through time, manifesting in ways that disconnect individuals from one another and create internal divides, subsequently impacting personal unity and relationships.
Joined by co-hosts Dr. Dan Allender and Rachael Clinton Chen, this conversation unfolds at the crossroads of theology, neuroscience, and the intricate tapestry of the human experience.
We think you’ll encounter at least a few thought-provoking concepts that you may not have considered before – we certainly did! And there’s still more to come. Stay tuned for Part 2 of our engaging discussion with Dr. Curt Thompson next week.
About Our Guest:
Psychiatrist Curt Thompson, MD brings together a dialect of interpersonal neurobiology (IPNB) and a Christian anthropology to educate and encourage others as they seek to fulfill their intrinsic desire to feel known, valued and connected. Curt understands that deep, authentic relationships are essential to experiencing a healthier, more purposeful life — but the only way to realize this is to begin telling our stories more truly.
His unique insights about how the brain affects and processes relationships help people discover a fresh perspective and practical applications to foster healthy and vibrant lives, allowing them to get unstuck and move toward the next beautiful thing they’re being called to make.
Through his workshops, speaking engagements, books, organizational consulting, private clinical practice and other platforms, Thompson helps people process their longings, grief, identity, purpose, perspective of God and perspective of humanity, inviting them to engage more authentically with their own stories and their relationships. Only then can they can feel truly known and connected and live into the meaningful reality they desire to create.
Curt Thompson’s new book, The Deepest Place: Suffering and the Formation of Hope, is available on August 29, 2023, wherever books are sold.
- Order The Deepest Place: Suffering and the Formation of Hope by Curt Thompson, MD
- Listen to Curt Thompson on this episode of Transforming Engagement, the Podcast, a production of the Center for Transforming Engagement at The Seattle School
Dan: Rachael, we have such a privilege today that for the most part, I just sort of want to start and then shut up. So that’s my approach to the day. On the other hand, I think both of us know that we’ve got so many questions, so we can’t help but intrude. But today, really, I would say my favorite author in this day, just an amazing human being, Curt Thompson. Curt, welcome. I’m going to introduce you in a moment, but just you can say…
Curt: Well, Dan and Rachael. Hello and thank you. It’s just, as I said a few moments ago, it’s just really humbling to be invited to be part of this. And I think, I don’t know if I mentioned this a couple of weeks ago when we were at the dinner, but I said this to someone that I’ve lost three brothers to cancer and they’re all much older than me, much by 10 years or maybe more. And I, there are two men in my life, and Dan, you’re one of them, who have stepped into that role. And even though our conversations are infrequent, they quickly run very deeply. And I’m really grateful for having the brother that I didn’t get to have. And so it’s always a pleasure to be in the room with you and Rachael meeting you now too for this conversation. Just really grateful to be here. Thanks.
Dan: I’m starstruck, but also so honored. Lemme just do a few little things to say that Curt is a psychiatrist, therapist, writer, podcaster. Again, you need to look at his oeuvre and between, again, The Anatomy of the Soul, The Soul of Shame, The Soul of Desire. Those are staggeringly, brilliant, thoughtful, complex, theologically deep, but deeply personal books. So again, just underscore beyond all those lovely qualifications and gifts, what I would say of what I know of Curt is just, he’s a good man. So with that, we also want to say, this is so fun to be able to announce a new birth. The Deepest Place. First of all, that is such a sweet and compelling title but, Suffering and the Foundation. Is that right? Foundation? Or…
Curt: The formation of…
Dan: Formation of Hope, is coming out. It might be like today, but wherever it’s going to be within the next week and cannot wait, cannot wait to see and partake of that. Well, let me just set the direction for at least our beginning conversation and really want to talk about the body and the mind and Jesus. And I know that your book is focused particularly on Romans 5, and we’ll come back to that soon. But what I want to begin with is this passage in Romans chapter 12. And Paul writes, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, and sisters, in view of God’s mercy to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice holy and pleasing to God. This is your true and proper worship. Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you’ll be able to test and approve what God’s will is, His good and pleasing and perfect will.” So my dear friend, help us understand the concept of Paul’s use of the Greek word, noos, mind. Unfortunately, I think we’ve often thought that’s pretty much the left hemisphere, but I know that your writing as in some sense, a neuro-theologian as one who has understood and offered us so much more clarity about the concept of mind. Walk us through how you engage Romans 12.
Curt: Well, I would say there are a few things. Well, the whole notion that everything I’ve learned this and would say this, that everything that we need to know about the world and human beings, you can get by reading the first four chapters of Genesis. And by everything, I don’t mean everything that we need to know about geology or physics or baking apple pies. I don’t mean that, but I mean everything we need to know about who we are as human beings, we can capture there. And I think one of the things that jumps off the page to me is what we read in those early lines in the second chapter of Genesis, that God formed a man out of the mud of the earth and breathed the breath of life into man’s nostrils, and man became a living soul. And there’s a sense in which we modernists will can read texts like we read the first chapter of Genesis and we read, oh, it’s just a story of material origins. And then you come to discover, actually that’s not what the writers were getting at at all. And then you read this, you read the seventh verse of the second chapter and you think, oh, they’re just telling us a fact about what happened in some place over there in the Middle East, allegedly. And I think however, it is a story of what it means for us to become living souls. First of all, I’ll just briefly to say that we start with mud. We start with our physicality. This is how we begin. You can’t do anything as a human if you don’t have a body. You can’t even do anything as a human if you’re just a brain on a stick, which is what our kind of more modern ways of neuroscience tend to reductionistically have us believing that we are, we’re just thinking things that’s in a body. But no, as it turns out, my entire body is the beginning of the sequence. Now, it doesn’t mean that the body is the most important thing, but it is the starting place. There is a sequence, and then we read that the breath of life, God breathes the breath of life into man and man became a living being. And that sequence is also equally important, that my body only comes to life through its interaction with another. And in the same way that other has to… life is brought forth from me, not from a distance. God doesn’t wave a wand from a distance. He doesn’t blow across the room, he breathes into his nostrils. It’s like CPR, mouth to mouth resuscitation kind of thing. And so there is this sense that, okay, so we have this picture that to become a mind, to become a living, breathing soul. So these words get interchanged, love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul with all your heart, soul, with all your strength. The word mind doesn’t actually show up in the Shema, doesn’t show up in the Old Testament, the word mind, you first read it in the scriptural text in the new… Jesus uses this because we’re in Greece now. We’ve got a Greek influences. We’ve got, there’s a lot of thinking that has to go. And so we’re capturing this element of it, heart, mind, soul, strength with my everything. And as it turns out, when we then look at what we’re discovering, especially we would say within the last quarter century around the way the brain and relationships interact with each other, what happens in the brain and how, what happens in the brain does so as a direct function of our interaction with other human relationships, we see Genesis 2:7, as we’re pointing, we see the entire body. It’s not just my brain, but it is my brain’s expressed essence in the body through my facial expression, my tone of voice and my body language and the things and my distress that shows up in my GI tract and all those things. But that is in direct relationship and in conversation with intimate human relationships. And here we would look at attachment research and we would say, oh, we have high correlation between secure attachment and the effective development of the nine functions of the middle prefrontal cortex. And so it gives us a picture that to love God with all of who I am, I become a living being over the course of my lifetime. I got married 36 and a half years ago, and there are still parts of me that are waiting to become adult enough to deserve being married to my wife.
Dan: Glory be to God. Yes.
Curt: Well, and heaven knows she’s still waiting for those parts show up. And so I think this is what… but we live in a world that over the last 500 years has systematically separated the material world from this thing that we call the spiritual world in such a way that a first century Hebrew or Jew or Christian would find unrecognizable. So when Paul talks about the spiritual realm, he’s not talking about some abstract kind of ethereal something or other out in the ether. I mean, he’s talking about that which is of God, material or non-material. And when he talks about the flesh, he’s not talking, not about just the material world, he’s talking about the things of the kingdom of darkness. And so when we read Romans 12 with echoes of Genesis 2 sitting before us, for Paul to admonish people to give their whole bodies, I urge you, make your bodies a living sacrifice. Your body, Paul, with his use of pronouns like your body, this plural, right? It’s not just, I read that and I think, oh, it’s Curt’s singular body that’s being asked to be given. And as it turns out, no, he’s actually using double entendre here. Yes, it’s Curt’s body as it is part of the larger body of faith. And so I can’t really talk about me without talking… I don’t have a sense of meaning in the room without it being in relationship with Dan and Rachael. That’s the way it works. But we have, we live in a world that actively trains us to live otherwise. To live as if, (a) my mind is separate from my body and that my body is separate from your body and I am this isolated thing. And so even as people of faith, we hear sermons preached and I read these texts and I think that Paul is just talking to Curt alone in a room. And then when I have trouble appropriating this text, I wonder, why can’t I get this right? Well, maybe because I’ve not yet received the full impact of the text, because the text is sitting on top of another text that started 3000 years before that. That’s a lot of yapping. Sorry.
Rachael: No! Don’t apologize.
Curt: That’s a lot.
Dan: Yap on.
Curt: Okay. Okay. So then when we talk about our work in this field of interpersonal neurobiology, we again, not using the language of faith. We quickly see though, that when we talk about the mind being an embodied and relational process that emerges from within and between brains whose function is to regulate the flow of energy information. That’s a fancy schmancy long-worded definition. But when we take a step back and unpack that definition, what we’re seeing is Genesis 2:7.
Dan: Well, when you think about body to body and the reality of, in some sense, mind to mind, left hemisphere, right hemisphere, all engaged, you’re actually pressing against in the spiritual realm, diabolos, the word implies being scattered, being thrown from one to the other, a division and isolation. So you’re naming brilliantly the fact that we’re isolated even between left and right hemisphere, isolated in terms of our brain and our body, our mind and our body, and then isolated between bodies and bodies and isolated even from the body of Christ. So when you think of that level of division in your work and in your writing, you’re constantly inviting us back to engage what divides us. And again, I don’t want to just go after one word, but let’s just say your way of engaging shame has just been exhilarating in its richness, fullness, and in some sense in the grief of what it brings. So when you think about this passage and you think about the role of shame, where again does that take us?
Curt: Well, it takes us to the third page of the Bible.
Rachael: Yes, it does.
Curt: Yeah. I think I said right, the first four pages, that’s all you need. The first four pages, the first four chapters.
Dan: We’ll stay there. We’ll just occasionally go elsewhere. But yes, we believe it.
Curt: Yeah. But I think part of why we say that is we’re so familiar with these texts that we, I think I’ll speak for myself, that I miss often a great deal. But if we’re willing to sit with them, of course, which is hard to do because of the supercomputer that I carry around in my pocket, is training me not to sit with anything for very long, actively training me to not sit with things. And if I have to, then I get anxious because my brain’s waiting for the next new thing to come along that has to… and I’m not a luddite, I’m not decrying it. But all that to say is that when we sit with these texts, we start to notice something. So for instance, we notice it’s easy for, we jump so quickly to formulaic ways of understanding our origin story. We already know there’s a thing called original sin and we know why that happened and the woman believed the lie. And so we don’t have to be curious about that anymore. But I think when we read the text, the first thing that we see, one of the first things that I see, you’re given this prompt. At the end of the second chapter, the man and his wife were naked and they were unashamed. So the writers are priming you. They’re priming you for something and they’re priming you for something that’s really, really big. As we like to say. If you’re on a cross country flight from Philadelphia to Seattle, and by the time you get to the Washington border, your plane drifts off by five degrees, you may get to the west coast and you’re still pretty close to Seattle. But if you drift off by five degrees when you’re 20 miles from Philly, you’re flying to Mexico City, you’re not going to be close. And so these origin stories are important because they tell us about big things that put us off by five degrees at the beginning, which means we’re not even close to the target. And so then you think, oh, okay, shame, I got that. Got that it. And then you think when you read the third chapter, you think that, oh, shame starts to show up after they eat the fruit. That’s when, because it’s more obvious because they hid themselves. Yeah. Okay. I was ashamed. And what I think we sometimes miss, what I miss for a long time is that shame is actually involved in the story long before any fruit gets eaten and shame emerges because this and that, we say, oh, the snake tempted her. What we don’t, it doesn’t occur to us that the snake was committing violence against her. He wasn’t tempting her as if temptation in and of itself is a neutral thing and we just have to make the right choice. Temptation itself is an act of violence. This is why the scriptures will say, God never tempts anyone. He tests us. He allows us to be in situations as he allowed the man and the woman, he gave them a list of the side effects of creation. He said, if you’re going to live in this world, here’s the potential side effect. You can’t eat of this tree. You can eat of everything else, but not this one. And then the test comes from God’s side of the equation. That’s not a temptation, that’s an invitation to grow into somebody even more than who you are… because he’s intention as we like… when did the first wound take place in the creation narrative? One chapter earlier, right? Adam goes to sleep and wakes up with a chest wound, right? But the difference is the intention. The difference is the intention that God’s intention is to create beauty and goodness. Evil’s intention is to devour. And so that’s why that wound manipulates shame. I mean, he’s essentially saying to the woman, God doesn’t really love you as much as you think he does. You are not that important. He talks about God, but lets the woman draw conclusions about herself. And so this whole notion of shame being an act of violence is fundamental. It’s not just a feeling. It is a neurophysiologic event, but just as its origin in the scriptural story is early. So it is early for us as human beings, 15 to 18 months of age, we experience it. And sometimes people will sometimes ask, well, Curt, is shame ever something that is good or necessary? Absolutely. You read Paul in 2 Corinthians 7, where he says, there is a godly grief that leads to repentance. There’s a godly shame, there’s a godly distress that leads to repentance and there is an ungodly grief that leads to death. And so we would say the question is not do we feel it or sense it? The question is how do we respond to it when we’re in the middle of it? And God gave them an out, even when all this is going on, he comes to find them in the afternoon, on the day that everything’s going wrong. And he asks some questions. He’s giving them an option. He’s giving them a way. He wants them to have a way to, okay, we’ve done this. Now what do we now want to do? And instead of Adam just saying, I’ve really screwed this up, instead of saying that he just does what we all do, he and she did, we start, I feel ashamed and I have so much of it, I’m going to share some of mine with you. Right? I’m just going to, so I give it to my wife and my wife gives it to the snake and all these things happen. But it happens very, very primitively meaning early in the anthropological story in the same way that it happens early in each individual’s human condition. It expands like a contagion silently but violently nonetheless. And one page later, you have one brother murdering another brother because probably of their parents unfinished business with each other.
Dan: Yes, envy, envy playing itself out in how one is perceived to be in relationship with others and ultimately with God.
Curt: And one of the fascinating things I think about shame, again, there’s this sense that when we look at what God’s intention is for optimal creative conditions, we look at the end of the second chapter and the man and his wife, there’s this sense of similarity, male and female, there are a lot of us men and women, very, very similar in most ways by far. Where we are different, we are infinitely different. We are immeasurably different, right? XY, XX, we are measurably different. But that is a symbol also for everything else that comes. It’s a symbol for my, me, like Northern European dude, like working with African-American, working with my… it’s about men and women. It’s about black and white. It’s about all the differentiated parts. And God has created this differentiated, differentiated world and saying, the orchestra is coming together to produce a beautiful symphony. And we have to do it by bringing lots of different parts together. And that is what evil then uses shame to exploit. Instead of all of those different sections coming together to have Beethoven’s ninth, we’re going to bring a four by four onto the stage of the concert hall and just run everybody over. And so we separate. So shame separates the sections from each section as well as within the section. All the different violinists don’t want to have anything to do with any of themselves either. So I’m separate from you and I have within my own mind… it’s… Right, and so the very thing that God wants to bring together, but not as a homogenous monatic thing, as this kaleidoscope of symphonic work together, evil is going to take that and it’s going to do what it can to devour it by separating it as far as it can. And this is one of the primary ways that shame operates. It literally, the neurophysiology of it turns me away from you and turns different parts, different functions of my mind within my own mind, my sensations, images, feelings, thoughts, behaviors, separating them from within so that I can’t operate as a unified whole. And God then tries to, he’s given us chance after chance after chance. And not until Jesus do we find a conductor who’s willing to do the work.
Dan: Yes, Rachael, directions that you want to go, because there are about 14,000 I want to.
Rachael: Well, honestly, I’m sitting here in just such deep particularities of this season of my life, thinking about my eight-month-old, almost nine-month-old, having just a little bit longer of a window before we’ve got to figure out how to help her bring her face back to us. But then I was thinking about motherhood and early motherhood, especially. I don’t think I’ve ever felt more shame just with the limitations of my own humanity. I’ve never needed Jesus more. I’ve never loved a human being more and never needed Jesus more at the same time. So I was mostly trying to catch up to my emotions there as I’m just deeply grateful for the richness of this conversation so far. So Dan, I would much rather defer to your 14,000 questions, but just the biblical studies, sociology, trauma-informed pastor in me is just so deeply grateful for the way in which Curt, you’re weaving together such depths for people and hopefully making profound connections around what it is that we’re really up against, but also the goodness that we’re meant for. So please continue.
Dan: Yeah. Well, in one sense, the humanity of what you’re inviting us to is back to our bodies and back to the particularity of, as Curt was talking, I’m thinking particularly about my three-year-old granddaughter Parker, who’s intense. Oh my God. Like I’m intense, like I can barely be with her without having within 20 minutes having a nap.
Curt: Well, she is your granddaughter, right?
Dan: Yes she is. But I’m going to blame more my daughter far more than me. And so the reality of watching her begin to metabolize shame and having moments where I’m watching the face of my daughter engage the face of my granddaughter and watching the almost this gravitational pull apart and yet the presence, and I just know having been with you, Rachael, that there will be a ferocity of kindness that’s so crucial to being able to bring Evie’s face back and to be able to bring her to a, you have a good face and I’ll help you in both the soul but your soul’s materiality. So in one sense, I just want to hold that and go, yeah, of course. I have a question and that is, how important is food in this whole conversation? Because, Jesus, I’m sorry, the father shows up in the cool of the day, which is the time in the ancient near east to party. This is drinking, this is serious drinking, this is serious eating. This is serious. Like we’re at the table. And when you’re at a table around food, you’ve got all the sensuality of what the body holds with regard to good drink, good food in one sense, good music, good story. This is the realm of what it means to give your body as a sacrifice. I think many of us think the task is give yourself to the ministry and somehow that… but actually the whole notion of in this sense, giving your body over to worship, to sacrifice is actually participating in the pleasure of the body, in the body, meaning our body, with the body, i.e. other relationships. So there’s something crucial about food, sensuality, relationship and the table for the engagement with what divides us, but also with what brings coherence and wholeness. So as you’ve been thinking about all these categories, how well do you eat?
Curt: You mean quite literally?
Dan: Oh yeah. I mean, do you eat a lot? Do you eat with people? How is eating really important to your own sense of dealing with shame?
Curt: Well, I’ll answer by saying this. So I mean, I’ll just say I love being at on the evening, on this day that we are recording this, this evening, I’m going to have dinner. My wife is going to have dinner with a group of her friends, and I’m going to have dinner with a good friend of mine and he and I could hang out and talk for two hours this afternoon. But we’re going to have dinner together, and that’s not going to be the same experience. It’s going to be a very different experience. It’s going to be at an Irish restaurant that we both just adore. And so there is this sense, and again, I think we would say everything about that story in Genesis, this whole notion that we are in not just Eden, but we are in Eden’s Garden, which is separate. It’s a distinct part of Eden. So we haven’t just come into the house, we’re at the table, in the house and we’re where the two trees are. And this is where, now they’re hiding among the very things that have created the trouble, right? They’re hiding among the bushes. And this sense that there are all kinds of ways in which the choice could have been offered. You can stay in the garden or you can step outside, but you can’t step outside the garden. That’s the kind of a choice that we could give. We could give all, but he gave them a choice that has to do with eating, that has to do with nourishment, that has to do with the choice. The nature of the choice was caught up in the very necessary essence of what we require in order to live. And so it’s not just some moral decision, I’m just changing my thinking. It’s a matter of what I am, as we like to say in our work, the work of new creation is an act of ingestion. We ingest, we digest, and we metabolize. You ingest in a matter of seconds. You digest in a matter of minutes to hours and you metabolize for the rest of your life. And what we would like to believe that we do. And so this gets, I’m come back to your, I promise you I’m answering your question. We would like to think, I would like to hope. I like to think that my transformation should simply happen by being able to, in the amount of time that it takes me to consume a meal. I don’t like the notion that my transformation requires the amount of time for metabolism to take place, relatively speaking. So when, I mean we now live in an age in which there are lots of cultural lines in the sand that have been drawn over all kinds of questions. And shame is in charge of every single one of those conversations. It’s in charge of it. And so when people ask me questions that have to do with politics or that have to do with sexual ethics, that have to do with immigration, I say, I would love to have a conversation with you about that, but it would mean you are coming to my house or my coming to your house at about six o’clock, and it’s going to have to be a conversation that lasts over a long meal with really good food and really good beverages. That’s what it’s going to take because we need to be in the garden to have the conversation. Now, being in the garden doesn’t guarantee good outcomes. Like God, he had a plan and his plan didn’t work out so well for him. I mean, things weren’t going well for God on the third page of the Bible. And not to mention that it wasn’t going well for humans, but I mean, I think that the point being that, shame, necessarily, my fundamental neurophysiologic response to shame is to act as quickly as I can to reduce the distress. And the primary way that I do that is by turning my face away from you. Because I can’t tolerate the gaze. I can’t tolerate what I start to feel when I see you seeing me. This is why we say developmentally that shame and guilt are different, and that with guilt we are, it requires an older brain. It requires a more mature brain to experience that. And why people who feel the thing that we call guilt when they’ve done something wrong to hurt somebody with whom they have an intimate relationship, their tendency is to move toward them. And with shame, we don’t, we move away. We turned away. Which is why with shame, I need you to come find me. I’m not going to bring my shameful self to you. I might bring my guilty self to you. I won’t bring my shameful self to you. I need you to come find me. And this is the story of the gospel. This is the third page of the Bible. God doesn’t just happen to be in the neighborhood. He’s coming to find them. And it’s this continual story of God trying to come and find us. And so I love that story that you’re telling Dan about Rachael with your daughter and Dan, with your granddaughter and your daughter turning her face toward her, the three-year-old. And there is a certain sense in which we as parents, we as friends, we as mentors, we are coming for people, but I cannot, and I want my child to turn toward me. I don’t want them to sit in their shame. But the real kicker is like, I can’t make my child turn to me. That is a story between my child and God. And that’s that often really pisses me off.
Dan: Yes, yes, absolutely.
Curt: That I can’t get my kid and my kids are now 32 and 29, that I can’t run my kid’s life, especially, and including having them turn to me when I don’t want them to. I don’t want them to turn away. And so in some respects, shame necessarily is this thing that’s happening communally. It’s always happening communally, but we each have our own particular work that we have to do. You can’t do. I’d love for you to be able to do my work for me when it comes to shame, but at the end of the day, I am going to have to decide, am I going to look at Jesus or not? Nobody else can do that work for me. And there’s no guarantee about what the outcome’s going to be. And this is the risk that God takes because, and I would say it’s a risk that he’s only to take because he takes us that seriously.
Rachael: Well, I think that’s what I was feeling when you were talking was like, how will I let Jesus meet me in my shame, in my failures as a parent so that I can bring my face to my daughter as she’s wrestling with that sense? And that’s really where I was sitting was I think that’s really the hardest part of parenting is contending with our shame and actually doing the work to manage it, to release it, to find healing, to allow Jesus to look at our face in the midst of our shame, to be able to tolerate that. Because like you were saying, we give it away, we share it, and I think, oh my gosh, in parenting, we so often share it with our children.
Curt: Oh. The stories I could tell of like, oh yeah, well, okay, so I’m jumping to something here in my mind, I’ll just say this and that is that. So two things that strike me. One has to do with the story of Abram and then Abraham has to do with that. I’m walking through Genesis again, and one thing that we see about Abraham is that for about every act of faith that he commits, he commits like three acts of faithlessness. And the retrospective on Abram is like, he’s a man of great faith. And I’m like, what the heck? I don’t know. But one thing that we see is that even in his mistakes, he continues to stay at it. He does not, unlike Adam, he does not just pack up and go back to Er. He does not go back and hide in the bushes. He continues to act as if God’s still serious about these things, despite the fact that he’s screwing up. And that is a message to me because Abram is still willing to put himself, he’s going to stay in the game no matter how many times he shoots and misses a shot like layups. He’s missing layups. Well, actually he’s shooting his wife a lot, but yes. Oh dude. And then we wonder, oh, why does Sarah then turn around and you hear the same story in reverse, right? She’s now going to throw Hagar under the bus. She’s had a great model for this. What does Lot do? Lot throws the angels under the bus because he’s watched his uncle do it. Abrams, the downstream effect of all this is horrible. But he stays in, he puts himself in God’s path, he continues to stay in the game. And I know that for me, I’m like, oh, wow. My tendency is when I make the mistake, I cave. I think I’m leaving the game, which is what Adam did. We’re just, we’re leaving the game. And when we do the work that we’re doing in these confessional communities that we work with, what I think that we’re watching people do is we are watching people stay in the game. We’re watching people, as we like to say in our work, my shame really truncates my imagination. I make a mistake with my kid. I have a hard time imagining that I’m, as the parent going to be able to come back from this. And what I need is other people in the room who can imagine this for me while my imagination is trying to catch up. And so I need to put myself in their path so that they can continue to say, well, so what are you feeling? I’m going to tell ’em like I feel really ashamed. And they’re going to say, we really get it. Look at us. Look at me. I’m really glad that you and your shameful part is in the room right now. I wouldn’t want you to be anywhere else. I wouldn’t want. And of course, how often do the parts of us that feel this shame ever hear this?
Dan: Oh, so seldom.
Curt: But this is what the gospel is doing.
Dan: Well, and what you’re naming is the reality that imagination to remain, to actually turn the face requires something of this ingestion or infusion of hope. And without that, and hope borrowed in one sense, not just generated within, but borrowed within. So when we begin to engage hope, we’re right in the center nexus of your most recent book and want to say, can you hang out a little bit longer and let us talk with you? Romans chapter five, make a shift from Romans 12 to 5 so we can begin to get a sense of, okay, how does this renewal of the mind come in relationship where there is the potential to, in one sense, defiantly stand against shame, but we need that interpersonal biologic, neurologic process for redemption. So, hope is ahead folks, we’ll be talking with Curt soon.