I think it’s about time I share my musings on the 2012 CCEF National Conference on Guilt and Shame! I’m still processing all of it, but I’ll let you in on what I’m chewing on. I delighted in the conference so much. The whole trip actually. We stayed at a house on Lookout Mountain, and because we weren’t staying in a generic hotel, the week had a “retreat” and “homey” sort of feel. Chattanooga is beautiful in the Fall, mostly because of the richly colored leaves on the trees. The family we were staying with even took us out in a convertible bug on a ride around the mountain to a crazy high bluff!
As for the conference, although I had already heard some of the things presented, I heard them anew and left feeling refreshed. I realized I am so forgetful (like Israel) and need to be reminded of God’s truths every day. There were also many new things I heard too, especially in the breakout sessions (check out the link for the schedule). Here are some gems that stuck with me:
-Shame is the larger category encompassing guilt. Shame is you are in the public square.
-Shame is we are exposed, worthless, failure, outcast, contaminated, disgraced and naked.
-Back to Genesis, in the garden, “the first thing God does is he covers us with animal skins. At that particular time in history, to be covered with dead animals was not a fine garment. There’s a message in it saying, “If you want to act like an animal and be associated with an animal, then let me dress you as an animal.” But that’s not the final word. In Exodus 28, God says, “Make garments for Aaron and priests that will give them dignity and honor.” Then, they have these garments where God is ultimately the tailor. They are utterly exquisite! The turban says on it, “Holy to the Lord.” Here is our problem, we are naked and exposed. But it’s all over Scripture, that our God knows such things and he is in the process of dressing us. Now, you are no longer a person identified by your shame, you wear royal garments and you are a saint. It means that you belong to God. Can you imagine anything grander??!” -Dr. Ed Welch Plenary Session 1.
-Our own Lord, the one we follow, was the one most shamed and mortified. We don’t say ‘Christ murdered.’ We say ‘Christ crucified.’ Christ knows shame to the core.
-Not only did our Master know shame, but we are to joyfully and willingly try to walk in the way of his sufferings. Romans 8:17 says, “Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”
-It is a non-human thought, a divine thought, to cultivate joy in participating in shame, but it’s not just anyone’s shame, it’s Christ’s!
-I was struck by Dr. Welch’s short biography of his life. It’s one word: “Help.” It seems so simple, but that is the thing I forget the most. To cry out “Help” to my God. Then he added, “Thank you.” How often do we an exchange with God daily saying “Help” and “Thank you”? Ashamedly, I can go a whole day without saying these things. It was even more moving to see how that bio affected Tim Lane, the President of CCEF, who scratched his whole speech about listing CCEF’s resume and its many activities. Instead he just said, “Help” to us, in asking for financial support. It’s powerful to see God’s truth affecting those around you and bringing change.
-3 basic principles of Christian Religion according to Augustine:
“The humility of knowing your need, of asking for help, saying thank you, and loving the one who helps you. Pray together. Think first about where you need help. What is your sense of need for help? Think of one phrase out of Numbers 6 that most speaks to your need. And then ask for help and then say thank you.” -Dr. David Powlison, Plenary Session 2.