On a cold and wet weekend, Austin and I settled in to a warm community spot with the Greenville Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, South Carolina. A church that is expanding in humankind and spirit alike, it is on the verge of a new building addition that will truly give its façade a welcoming face of UU’ism.
In the midst of its annual pledge drive and whilst also working on (might I say very successfully into) its new building fund, this Sunday service by the Rev. Pat Jobe examined “The Power of Shame.” Beginning with a video by Brené Brown and her focus on psychoeducational teaching surrounding shame, a clarification was stated on the difference between shame and guilt. Shame being one’s created thinking that “I am bad” as a person, and guilt being a feeling of, “I did something bad,” as a result of something actually accomplished. What we realize here is that shame is a form of self loathing, while guilt is actually healthy in that it is the little voice in our head telling us that we have committed a wrong.
The format of the sermon, unique for today’s talk, was representative of a radio talk show with Rev. Jobe and Ed Proulx in a back-and-forth conversation about their own thoughts and experiences with shame and guilt. In the conversation, Rev. Jobe was quite frank while admitting his “vulnerability” to the congregation and saying that he “still has secrets that [he] will take to [his] grave.” What would seem a difficult admittance among his own parishioners, he delivered it comfortably to those whom have accepted him as their minister–of course with the understanding that as humans we all have this truth within us. And although our individual reasons might vary from simple mistakes to those rattling the rafters, they are our own to sequester to the past where they belong.
Rev. Jobe spoke of learning a fitting metaphor for letting go of our shame. I share it here with you: Imagine a ball in front of you just hanging there in space and within arms’ reach. The ball represents the shame that you cannot let go of. Now, reach out and grab that ball. Hold it for a moment, considering its make-up. Let go as the ball remains suspended. Now, this second time. reach out but do not grab the ball. Let it go. Let it leave your space forever. In this simple exercise you let go!
If you live in the Greenville area and would like to attend, visit: http://greenvilleuu.com/pages/
To learn about the teachings of Brené Brown, Ph.D., LMSW: http://www.brenebrown.com/welcome
For information on the Montessori based preschool at GUUF, UU World of Children, visit: http://greenvilleuu.com/pages/uuwoc.htm