Primitive religion is not believed, it is danced!

Arthur Darby Nock

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Elizabeth Browning

Friday, January 5, 2018


“Shame was an emotion he had abandoned years earlier. Addicts know no shame. You disgrace yourself so many times you become immune to it.”
                                            John Grisham, The Testament

Most of us know shame
I live with it each day
My very active mind replaying the tapes
Of things done and said

That in my befuddled mind
Not only those I have hurt
But betray my father and mother
That “Kliewer heritage”

And betray my own sense of self

I know two things about shame
Shame is destructive to the self
As Brené Brown puts it, “Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change.”
(I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame)

With shame we become stuck
We do not say “I made a mistake”
We say “I am a mistake”
And the failures we carry with us inhibit us
Until like aged armadillos we can barely move

But to have no shame, to be able to act with no sense
Of regret for acts that are terrible in their scope
And devastating in their impact

And to smile, smugly
Ah, this is perhaps worse

For it destroys both the one with no shame
And all of those that person would use, manipulate, and abuse
Like our current political leaders
Who have disgraced themselves so often
With their lies, their heartless actions

That they no longer see that
When you destroy the lives of millions upon millions of vulnerable people
in order to enrich the lives of the people privilege
you are acting in an evil way

No shame

Which is right?


Instead we need a heart awakened
As Richard Rohr reminds me, in my saner moment
“God hides, and is found, precisely in the depths of everything,
even and maybe especially in the deep fathoming of our fallings and failures.”

We are called to move deep, into the ‘real’
Into that place where Sacred dwells
And where we can unit with love

Once we have experienced, and tapped into this union, this unity
Then love springs up, like a “spring of living water” (John 4)
And shame is washed away

But replaced by such a deep longing for justice, truth, and equity
That  we do not disgrace love

We make sure kids have health care (CHIP)
We make sure clinics are funded to take care of the poor (FQHCs)
We create a more equitable society (and at times “help” the very rich with generosity (it’s for their own good, really)
We welcome the stranger
We clothe the naked, house the homeless
We treat each person, no matter what color or creed
As a Sacred Child

In short we call each other back to our essential humanity

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