Edward Welch’s Shame Interrupted: How God Lifts the Pain of Worthlessness and Rejection is a remarkable book. It offers a penetrating, discomfiting analysis of the experience of shame, which Welch summarizes under the headings of nakedness and exposure, isolation and being an outcast, contamination and self-disgust. He sees it everywhere – in the man whose anger bursts out uncontrollably, in addicts and in eating disorders, in victims of sexual abuse, in children subjected to incessant criticism from parents.
Welch’s antidote to shame is worked out with striking use of biblical theology. His chapter on purity and holiness in the Leviticus order is one of best summaries I’ve read everywhere, and he makes it all existentially relevant to us who live in the Christian age by using the Levitical categories to describe both the experience of shame and God’s solution: God deals with shame by providing priestly robes of glory (“splendor is possible” is Welch’s superb summary), by touching the unclean to absorb their impurity and to communicate holiness to them, by connecting us to the royal honor and glory of King Jesus.
posted by Peter J. Leithart on Friday, September 7, 2012 at 4:56 am
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