Resources and Comments in Response to “The Challenge to Change”
In “The Challenge to Change” (the September 24, 2012 Alban Weekly, adapted from Shame-Less Lives, Grace-Full Congregations), Karen McClintock explains the decline in church membership by first describing the experiences of a young woman she calls “Amanda.” After her first visit to a worship service, Amanda concludes that people seemed to “be suspicious of me.”
What caused the behavior that resulted in Amanda’s experiences? In McClintock’s view, it’s largely shame. Seeing Amanda evoked uncomfortable reminders of the church’s inadequacy on any number of issues—rote and boring worship, unresolved incidents of misconduct, the loss of young people from regular church participation. Shame, in the author’s words, “blocks our ability to grow and thrive.” And it’s only by openly reviewing past mistakes, accepting “our own congregational climates,” and acting on clear goals that something new and vital can emerge.
What resources can support you and your congregation in facing and resolving shame? In addition to the items listed at the end of the article, please consider The Faces of Forgiveness: Searching for Wholeness and Salvation and The Way of Forgiveness.
What are your stories and thoughts on this topic? And what resources do you suggest? We look forward to hearing from you.