The Soul of Shame: Retelling the Stories We Believe About Ourselves Paperback – August 26, 2015
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"Curt Thompson critiques shame as an elusive phenomenon, hiding in the shadows. In The Soul of Shame, using a theological lens, he drives shame into the light by framing it as a ubiquitous and intrusive force that creates chaos in the mind, isolation in relationships and suffering in the soul. Since shame is relational, he locates healing in nurturing communities rather than the isolated self. Everyone will be enlightened by this illuminating analysis, entranced by the elegant language and filled with hope by the availability of communal healing." (Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt, authors of Making Marriage Simple and Getting the Love You Want)
"First and foremost, Curt Thompson is a wise, kind and generous guide through the foul thicket of shame. No word or topic sends people hiding more readily than shame, yet it is the brooding, merciless killer of joy in all our lives. Curt weaves biblical wisdom, neuroscience research and powerful stories into a covering that doesn't hide our shame but enables us to name what is keeping us from freedom and wonder. This is a magisterial work―thoughtful, compelling and transformative." (Dan B. Allender, professor of counseling psychology and founding president, The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology)
"There is a beautiful freedom in moving without fear into the science of the mind and soul. To assume that God is good, that his word and work in the world are real, and then to assume that there is much to know about the physical science behind his work is, to me, a thing of honest beauty. I am blown away by Dr. Thompson's ability to so completely integrate the narratives of science, faith, the ever-raging battle between good and evil and the human experience. In addition to my own struggles, I can think of several close friends whose shame-filled narratives cause much heaviness and sadness. I am inspired by this book to continue to carry my 'stuff' into the light, and to help others do the same." (Sara Groves, singer-songwriter)
"Fans of Brene Brown's work will find in The Soul Of Shame an intelligent, complementary (but not identical) companion to their reading. This book would also be helpful to pastors, spiritual directors, and anyone who finds themselves longing to understand why they do the things they don't want to do―and how to move toward joy instead. . . . 'Every minute of every day we choose between shame and love,' Thompson writes. It takes intention to combat shame, but, as he reminds us, it is not a battle we fight alone. Our God fights for and with us." (Michelle Van Loon, Patheos, November 5, 2015)
"The Soul of Shame provides an in-depth examination of shame and how it affects every aspect of our lives. It is an incredible resource for every pastor who provides pastoral care and counseling. We readily recognize the effects of sin upon the physical body but fail to recognize its impact on the brain that cause neurological changes in the brain which then affects our emotions and thinking. The Soul of Shame will empower pastors and counselors to see that shame is a root issue to most challenges we face in our fallen world. It's a must-read if one wants to be serious about caring pastorally for the Lord's people." (Brad Hoefs, Outreach Magazine's Resources of the Year, March/April 2016)
"We need to talk about shame. Curt Thompson?s recent book The Soul of Shame: Retelling the Stories We Believe About Ourselves (InterVarsity Press, 2015) does just that and is, in my opinion, one of the most important books written this past year. . . . I don?t say this lightly, for there are few books I have read that could ever make this list: this should be a book that every Christian pastor needs to know intimately, every parent should read cautiously for the sake of their children, and most Christians should have access to. It is a book that is applicable to everyone on some level, whether you yourself are dealing with shame or you know someone who is." (Randy Hardman, Seedbed, December 31, 2015)
"Under the rapid-fire pace of modern life, Dr. Curt Thompson provides laser focus to the dynamics of the human soul and especially the crushing weight of untreated shame. With the heart of a pastor and the training of a surgeon, Dr. Thompson excavates layers of shame and then demonstrates their life-destroying aspects when left untreated. His training in psychiatry and medicine and his love and commitment to the life and spirit of Jesus uniquely qualify him both to diagnose and treat the ailment while pointing us to the one and only source of true life. Every individual who suffers under the weight of shame will benefit from this important book." (Gayle D. Beebe, president, Westmont College)
"Though shame often exerts hidden, destructive power over us, The Soul of Shame invites us to find freedom with each other and in God's story of love for us. Curt Thompson weaves together experience, insightful stories, science and Scripture to invite us into a story of healing and flourishing together. This excellent book will help to guide my thoughts and relationships for a long time." (Kent Annan, author of After Shock and Following Jesus Through the Eye of the Needle)
"Curt Thompson has written a book that is both truthful and honest: honest about our self-diminishment and truthful about alternatives. He is a shrewd observer of human reality and reads the Bible in knowing and compelling ways. The result of these qualities is a book that is potentially transformative and emancipatory for many readers. An important byproduct, in my reading, is the recognition that the church has spent much too much time on the issue of guilt. The move from guilt to shame is a move from rules that may smother to relationships that may hurt but that also have the capacity to heal. This is a wise book that knows about our present tense and our possible future." (Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary)
About the Author
- Publisher : IVP Books; International Trade Paper edition (August 26, 2015)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 208 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0830844295
- ISBN-13 : 978-0830844296
- Item Weight : 10.4 ounces
- Dimensions : 9.02 x 0.59 x 6.1 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #842,185 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I have to say that I currently deeply disagree with the premise of this book with regards to it being realized in real life. I might go as far to say that the underpinnings of this book are contradictory and are are very dangerous and damaging when you try to use them in the real world. In reality/real world:
1. Most people are uncomfortable with talking about the fact that they go to a therapist or that they have a mental illness. It is looked down upon in our culture to admit to these things.
2. People in American culture are treated like objects designed for efficiency and pleasure. This is not going to stop. People are not going to start magically being accepting of people who can’t measure up to standards. That’s just not how life works. The reality is people want results and they don’t care about your humanity or your effort.
I’m not of the persuasion that Christianity is going to suddenly do a major overhaul of these grotesque phenomena. Maybe I’m in love with the ideas of Christianity, but get frustrated because they can’t actually be realized and I think it is cruel and unreasonable to assert that they can. Besides, If everyone ascribed to the vulnerability that Dr. Thompson lauds, Dr. Thompson and other psychology professionals would be out of a job.
He spend parts of the book touting himself by telling all these success stories of patients who are suddenly gushing success after a tango or two with a christian psychiatrist and magic counseling fairy dust. No one is going to read a book that does not show successful results. Dr. Thomson has to talk about his results, he can’t just talk about his effort like he wants his patients and teachers in the school systems to do. If he isn’t actually producing positive results in his practice, who cares about his efforts? I found that section of the book hypocritical and deeply unrealistic.
If I could truly be vulnerable and experience healing from bringing my shame out into the open for everyone to see, I wouldn’t want to read these self-help books. This observation blows a major hole in Dr. Thompson’s argument. Additionally, licenced professionals are being paid to sit and listen to people’s problems and write books. Money and malpractice laws prevent a licenced professional from going and gossiping about your problems with other people. No one wants to hear your tale of woe unless you are a psychologist or a therapist and the last time I checked they don’t work for free.
Dr. Thomson advocates for building communities in which you can be vulnerable so that you are not airing your dirty laundry in front of any person. But here’s the rub: people can turn on you at any time. And if you don’t have money and malpractice laws to tame them, you’re toast. It’s like befriending a lion until it gets hungry and you’re the only meat around. How do you get to a point where you feel safe enough to show someone your wounds? You can’t and anyone who claims otherwise wants to manipulate you.
I hold this view currently because of several things both from my own experience and things that I have observed. A major rupture and subsequent dissolution in a cherished relationship has been the cornerstone of my resolve in not trusting people and to go back into hiding with fervent joy. Becoming vulnerable with one of the most painful aspects of my life sent my inner world into a soul-numbing lock down.
Reading books and posting anonymous reviews has helped me to be vulnerable without being known. That flies in the face of everything that this book is about. For whatever reason, the Christian community is absolutely obsessed with the concept of vulnerability to an almost masochistic degree. They want to know that you are hurting so that they can hurt you even more.
In conclusion, I recommend this book only with the intent to think about and explore its contents, but not to actually apply the ideas that are in it. I appreciated the scientific aspect of the book and the limping and embarrassed "Restroom Man" on the front cover.
The book is worthy of careful study. Insightful study questions at the end of the book would make for good material for a reading group to discuss. Thompson only really gets technical with the neuroscience in one chapter, so if you may be wary of an overly academic treatment, have no fear. The book is clear and understandable and though I am not with Thompson in all of his conclusions, I highly recommend the book as real food for thought.
Top reviews from other countries
Can't recommend it enough for those wanting to grapple with these important issues.
This fits in the top shelf category of books that will change the way you think about your life and journey. It also explains a lot of all the dysfunctionality around us; family, friends, church, school, work. He also provides insights for a better way. Read this book!