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A Liturgy Against Shame Before Creating

A Liturgy Against Shame Before Creating

The greatest enemy to creativity isn’t lack of time, money, tools, or training. The greatest enemy of creativity and productivity is shame. More than distraction or busyness, shame steals the energy and courage required to create. And even more disastrously, shame disrupts the relationships that are necessary for creating and producing together. Even creative tasks that are undertaken alone are always done in dialogue with other minds, in conversation with other image-bearers. Shame disrupts creativity and productivity causing us to hide from one another. Shame breathes lies. Shame lies and says:

You’re an idiot. You have no business doing this work. You’re going to fail. You always fail. You’re never good enough. You never will be good enough. You’re a fraud. This is so derivative, so unoriginal. Nobody will care about this work. Nobody should care about this work. It’s trash. People will laugh at you. People will steal your work. People will think what you are doing is dumb. 

The louder the voice of shame, the more energy it takes to overcome it and create something good and beautiful. It robs us of energy we could otherwise use to create. This is a major theme in Curt Thompson’s work. Curt is a Christian psychologist and author who writes on the themes of shame and creativity, andt Christ Community recently had the privilege of hosting him for an evening conversation. You can watch his talk HERE and read more in his books The Soul of Shame and The Soul of Desire.

All of us are creating even if we aren’t professional graphic artists or creative writers. Making dinner is a creative act. Building a presentation slide deck and building a deck on your house are creative acts. Putting together spreadsheets and spreading fresh sheets on the bed are creative acts. 

And wherever there is the potential for creativity and ushering goodness and beauty into the world, shame is lurking — seeking at all costs to choke and strangle that creativity. I want to offer you a practice for combating shame when you’re preparing to create. This is a liturgy, a prayer, for combating shame that you can use when you begin a creative endeavor. 

Liturgy Against Shame Before Creating 

All:
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
You are the Creator and Sustainer
of everyone and everything,
You uphold the universe by the Word of Your Power.

Leader:
You have made us creative collaborators in your image;
Male and female you have created us. 

Created us to be creative.
Created us to draw out all the fulness and beauty
of the world you have lovingly formed and fashioned.

Yet now as we stand on the precipice of this creative endeavor,
the threshold of this good work,
this good work, O Lord, which you have prepared for us to do,
we find ourselves haunted by shame.

In the face of this shame,
we shrink back, we hide;
we grow suspicious of others,
contemptuous of ourselves.

King Jesus, who for the joy set before You despised the shame of the cross,
teach us now to despise this shame.
Against the lie of shame which says, I am worthless.
We speak the truth of Your voice:

We are fearfully and
wonderfully made.

Against the lie of shame which says, I have nothing to offer.
We speak the truth of Your voice:

We are God’s handiwork,
created in Christ Jesus to do good works,
which You prepared in advance for us to do.

Against the lie of shame which says, They can’t be trusted, they will hurt you.
We speak the truth of your voice:

We are all baptized by one Spirit into one body,
we were all given the one Spirit to drink.

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, defend us now
from all the assaults of shame.
And shepherd us into the green pastures of your goodness and beauty.

Amen.

Nurturing Our Natures

Nurturing Our Natures

By Curt Thompson, MD
Reposted with permission from
https://curtthompsonmd.com/resources/

As I have written elsewhere,

And there is no better vocational effort that we have been called and commissioned to put forth than that which takes place day in and day out in families, churches, and schools in order to create a world of goodness and beauty. But evil has other intentions, and as such finds no more lucrative work than in those very communities where we first learn how to learn. Where our natures are first nurtured with the intention of growing us up to become effective, loving parents, students, educators, farmers, park rangers, teachers, police officers, and all the other vocational domains we occupy.

It is therefore helpful to know that shame begins to take root in our minds as early as fifteen to eighteen months of age. This means that we initially take it in and are largely affected by it more so via our nonverbal brain activity than we do via language. Hence, if we are parents, it behooves us to be aware of our own narratives and where shame is trying to tell our story such that we can prevent it from having as much of a say in the stories our children are beginning to tell. As we rear our children, knowing where our own shame attendants are hiding out is the first step to quieting the attendants that have our children in their crosshairs.

Then, there is our larger family of faith—one that, if taken seriously, is potentially an equal if not more significant formational one. If it is true, as I said above, that evil does its best work in the middle of good work being done, why would we be surprised that we experience so much shame in the church? It only makes sense that in a place where we intentionally gather in response to Jesus’ invitation for all of us who are weary and heavy laden to come to him for rest, shame would be waiting for us.

Evil does not so much knock on our door and straightforwardly ask us to commit unspeakable horror. Rather, it waits for our movement to do good things, and simply joins our parade, weaving its way into the motion and direction in which we are already moving.

In our deep desire to love God, it reminds us that we don’t love him enough or in the right way. Only in the church, where we expect no one to shame anyone in any way, does it naturally catch us especially off guard. Only in the church does the proclamation of the good news so often begin by reminding us of how bad we are in the first place—often because we so fear that without that shaming element we might not respond as we should. Only in a place where like no other we genuinely desire to do the next right thing do we worry that we won’t. But let us be clear—this should not surprise us. Furthermore, it is not our fellow parishioners who are the enemy. Evil is the enemy, but would rather use shame to convince us that the enemy is sitting next to us in the pew.

It is therefore incumbent upon us to be as ready to meet the devil in our church families as Jesus was when he went to the synagogue in the third chapter of Mark’s gospel. It is in church where Jesus confronts—simultaneously—the woundedness and shame of both a deformed man and the religious community that was presumably responsible for nurturing his life in God. When we come to our worshipping communities expecting to work against shame, it will be less able to catch us off guard, and so be made more impotent to do what it usually does.

And from church, we send our children off to school, to institutions that themselves at times become cauldrons of shame. We know this not least because of the increase in the number of anxiety disorders in children in elementary schools who worry that they may not be making straight A’s, which might preclude them from eventually getting into Yale. This, not to mention how much school administrators worry that they are not providing enough for the worried parents they serve, and so, in their attempt to do the next right thing, apply more pressure to teachers who apply pressure to students who apply pressure to their parents who call the administrators to find out why their child is so anxious, yet is still not making straight A’s. And to be clear: all these people do not wake up in the morning planning to do these things. We are all trying to do the best we can. This is how evil wields shame: silently and subtly, largely outside of our awareness.

But there is hope. Indeed, to the degree that we are committed to allow our stories to be fully known and loved, whether that is at home, at church, or in our educational systems, we proclaim the gospel. Even as we learn math. As we learn how to make our beds and say please and thank you. As we preach sermons that proclaim God’s delight in the presence of the naturally occurring limits he has infused into the creation. As we discipline each other and ourselves.

So be of good cheer. As you have babies and then take them to church and then send them to school, know that as you are known and transfer that way of being known on to those for whom you are responsible, the Holy Trinity is working as hard as they can on your behalf, bringing you further up and further into the age that is here and is to come.

And if that’s not nurturing our natures, I don’t know what is.

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Dr. Curt Thompson will be speaking at Christ Community on October 14, 2021. Be sure to save the date for this upcoming event.

Nurturing Our Natures 

Nurturing Our Natures 

By Curt Thompson, MD
Reposted with permission from
https://curtthompsonmd.com/resources/

As I have written elsewhere,

And there is no better vocational effort that we have been called and commissioned to put forth than that which takes place day in and day out in families, churches, and schools in order to create a world of goodness and beauty. But evil has other intentions, and as such finds no more lucrative work than in those very communities where we first learn how to learn. Where our natures are first nurtured with the intention of growing us up to become effective, loving parents, students, educators, farmers, park rangers, teachers, police officers, and all the other vocational domains we occupy.

It is therefore helpful to know that shame begins to take root in our minds as early as fifteen to eighteen months of age. This means that we initially take it in and are largely affected by it more so via our nonverbal brain activity than we do via language. Hence, if we are parents, it behooves us to be aware of our own narratives and where shame is trying to tell our story such that we can prevent it from having as much of a say in the stories our children are beginning to tell. As we rear our children, knowing where our own shame attendants are hiding out is the first step to quieting the attendants that have our children in their crosshairs.

Then, there is our larger family of faith—one that, if taken seriously, is potentially an equal if not more significant formational one. If it is true, as I said above, that evil does its best work in the middle of good work being done, why would we be surprised that we experience so much shame in the church? It only makes sense that in a place where we intentionally gather in response to Jesus’ invitation for all of us who are weary and heavy laden to come to him for rest, shame would be waiting for us.

Evil does not so much knock on our door and straightforwardly ask us to commit unspeakable horror. Rather, it waits for our movement to do good things, and simply joins our parade, weaving its way into the motion and direction in which we are already moving.

In our deep desire to love God, it reminds us that we don’t love him enough or in the right way. Only in the church, where we expect no one to shame anyone in any way, does it naturally catch us especially off guard. Only in the church does the proclamation of the good news so often begin by reminding us of how bad we are in the first place—often because we so fear that without that shaming element we might not respond as we should. Only in a place where like no other we genuinely desire to do the next right thing do we worry that we won’t. But let us be clear—this should not surprise us. Furthermore, it is not our fellow parishioners who are the enemy. Evil is the enemy, but would rather use shame to convince us that the enemy is sitting next to us in the pew.

It is therefore incumbent upon us to be as ready to meet the devil in our church families as Jesus was when he went to the synagogue in the third chapter of Mark’s gospel. It is in church where Jesus confronts—simultaneously—the woundedness and shame of both a deformed man and the religious community that was presumably responsible for nurturing his life in God. When we come to our worshipping communities expecting to work against shame, it will be less able to catch us off guard, and so be made more impotent to do what it usually does.

And from church, we send our children off to school, to institutions that themselves at times become cauldrons of shame. We know this not least because of the increase in the number of anxiety disorders in children in elementary schools who worry that they may not be making straight A’s, which might preclude them from eventually getting into Yale. This, not to mention how much school administrators worry that they are not providing enough for the worried parents they serve, and so, in their attempt to do the next right thing, apply more pressure to teachers who apply pressure to students who apply pressure to their parents who call the administrators to find out why their child is so anxious, yet is still not making straight A’s. And to be clear: all these people do not wake up in the morning planning to do these things. We are all trying to do the best we can. This is how evil wields shame: silently and subtly, largely outside of our awareness.

But there is hope. Indeed, to the degree that we are committed to allow our stories to be fully known and loved, whether that is at home, at church, or in our educational systems, we proclaim the gospel. Even as we learn math. As we learn how to make our beds and say please and thank you. As we preach sermons that proclaim God’s delight in the presence of the naturally occurring limits he has infused into the creation. As we discipline each other and ourselves.

So be of good cheer. As you have babies and then take them to church and then send them to school, know that as you are known and transfer that way of being known on to those for whom you are responsible, the Holy Trinity is working as hard as they can on your behalf, bringing you further up and further into the age that is here and is to come.

And if that’s not nurturing our natures, I don’t know what is.

 

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Dr. Curt Thompson will be speaking at Christ Community on April 24, 2021. Be sure to save the date for this upcoming event.

Pastor Tom Shares About Curt Thompson’s Upcoming Visit to Christ Community

Pastor Tom Shares About Curt Thompson’s Upcoming Visit to Christ Community

Recently we sat down with our senior pastor, Tom Nelson to hear his heart about Dr. Curt Thompson’s upcoming visit to Christ Community.  

Who is Dr. Curt Thompson?   

As a committed follower of Jesus and a practicing psychiatrist in the Washington D.C. area, Curt uniquely sits in the illuminating intersection of biblical theology, spiritual formation, neuroscience, and psychology. Curt is the author of two really important and outstanding books, The Anatomy of the Soul and The Soul of Shame.

Tell us about your growing friendship with Curt Thompson?

I first encountered Curt through his writings. I was immediately drawn to his well-informed, integrated mind and tender heart. A couple of years ago, I reached out to him for an extended conversation and he was gracious to warmly respond. More recently my wife Liz and I spent an evening with Curt. He is not only wonderfully insightful, but also really fun to be around. Liz and I have also sat under Curt’s teaching at a conference, and are so excited to spend more time with him when he comes to speak to the Christ Community family on April 23.

Why are you so excited about Curt’s upcoming visit to Christ Community?  

Curt Thompson is a growing national voice bringing needed insight to the church, related to spiritual formation, interpersonal intimacy, and fostering healthy spiritual community. As a practicing psychiatrist, he is immersed daily in the broken human condition. It is out of this very down to earth, practical context that Curt calls for greater integration of our Christian faith, weaving together the transformative spiritual disciplines along with fresh insight from interpersonal neurobiology.

What is Curt Thompson going to speak about?

He will be speaking on the topic of shame bringing insights from his book, The Soul of Shame. His talk will raise our awareness regarding shame and point us to practical applications in our relationships and daily life. Curt is a very engaging communicator, and I think our church family will really enjoy listening and learning from him. We have also planned an interactive response time following Curt’s talk.

Why is this matter of shame so important?

It is hugely important. Shame plays a major role in the biblical narrative. Shame is involved in humankind’s tragic and devastating fall into sin and death. It is like kryptonite of the soul. Shame impairs our relationship with God and others. Shame destroys community. Shame robs our joy and hinders our creativity and vocational productivity. There simply is no part of our lives where shame does not surface and wreak havoc. Curt will help us not only see the devastating impact of shame, but also point us to gospel hope and increasingly integrated lives where shame has a decreasing influence over us, within us, and between us.    

Do you have any final words for us?

As a church family we are incredibly blessed to have someone of Curt Thompson’s stature with us. He has never been to Kansas City before and although I hope we can get him back again someday, this may well be the only time we will have with him. I guess I simply want to say, do not miss this great opportunity to learn, grow, and experience greater joy as an apprentice of Jesus. REGISTER HERE >

 

Retelling the Story We Believe About Ourselves

Retelling the Story We Believe About Ourselves

By Tom & Liz Nelson 

We are all storytellers. In his outstanding book, The Soul of Shame, Dr. Curt Thompson puts it this way:  “We yearn to tell and hear stories of goodness and beauty, and this is the echo of God’s intention. We long for our stories to be about joy, not just reflections of what we believe but of who we are, who we long to be.”

What is your story telling? 

Is it a story of goodness, beauty, and joy? It can be! We can experience a world where God’s eternal purposes are trusted. What then distorts our stories, corrupts our lives, interfering in our relationship with God and others? What cripples vocational flourishing and creativity and makes holistic healing (physical, emotional, social, spiritual integration) appear out of our reach? Shame is the culprit igniting disintegration of our creation design preventing us from growing in Christlikeness and becoming who God desires us to be.

 Dr. Curt Thompson opens our eyes to what shame is and how it works.

Becoming vulnerable feels uncomfortable and at times too risky. Dr. Thompson asserts that shame shows up as that deep feeling that I am simply not enough, that I don’t measure up. Shame is “… the felt sense that I do not have what it takes to tolerate this moment or circumstance.” 

Perhaps in your life shame is whispering or even shouting, “You are not enough.”

While shame is one of our greatest obstacles to joy, there is good news about shame. In Christ we can embrace our new identity as beloved sons and daughters of God who intimately know God and are intimately known by God. We are secure in His Triune love.

The gospel addresses shame and paves the way forward to redemption, healing, joyful creativity, and renewed vitality in endless ways. Identifying the presence and power of shame will enable us to experience the liberation to live as we were originally created to live. An integral life of joy we never dared imagine awaits every apprentice of Jesus. 

 Through the heartfelt lens of Dr. Curt Thompson’s personal story and professional expertise, we can gain greater understanding of shame by becoming more aware of the goodness and beauty in our relationships and vocational callings. Our transformation occurs in the context of a community of transparency, prayer, and connection. Shame unravels in the beautiful tapestry of close friendships.   


Christ Community will host Dr. Curt Thompson for two special events in April, 2020. You are invited to join us as we learn more about this crucial subject.

Visit Dr. Thompson’s website and download a chapter from The Soul of Shame: CurtThompsonMD.com

Redeeming Shame:
Vulnerability and Vocational Creativity 

When: Thursday, April 23 from 6:30-8:15pm
Where: Christ Community – Leawood Campus
Cost: FREE (but registration is required)
REGISTER for Thursday evening


The Beauty of Transformation
(3 hour CEU training for healthcare professionals)

When: Friday, April 24 from 9:00am-12:00pm
Where: Christ Community – Leawood Campus
Cost: $90
REGISTER for Friday morning