The Return of Shame p. 32
Ours may be a culture that no longer believes in sin. But, clearly, it believes in shame. . . . Andy Crouch analyzes how Western civilization is transitioning from a guilt-based [culture] to a “media-amplified shame culture.” The role that communities play in conferring either honor or shame (in contrast to their more individualistic counterparts, innocence and guilt) provides an opportunity for the church, Crouch argues.
While public outrage is as old as human history, social media shaming is new. In its ability to take shame as far beyond a local community as the entire globe and to wreak effects vastly disproportionate to the precipitating acts, social media shaming may become a form of systemic injustice. It therefore is a phenomenon that Christians need to acknowledge and address intentionally and with principle. We have the opportunity at this moment in our culture to determine to offer a different way than the world [does].
Karen Swallow Prior
Editor’s Note: On March 12, CT hosted its first live Twitter chat to further discuss issues brought up in “The Return of Shame.” More than 100 participants talked about shame as tied up in relationships of power, Eastern and Western notions of shame, the role of shame in our lives as Christians, and the need for gracious dialogue rather than criticism. The hashtag #CTShame was mentioned 760 times and received 281,646 impressions by the following day.
Critique remembers the imago dei in the recipient, shame forgets that.
Daniel Darling @dandarling
Your question assumes shame is an intent rather than an embedded value. In Eastern culture it isn’t one ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 65+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more