Monthly Archives: August 2013

The Power of Myth

The story of the Spanish Armada was the story of a bloody failure, almost for all sides, it was the story of British ships being absolutely battered by disease and failure to catch their prey.  The sailors afterwards, many of them died from starvation and disease, and my of the Spanish galleons were wrecked on the cliffs of the Celtic isles.

But it fostered two stories.  The first was the myth of the English Navy, that this was a nation which could defend itself through the sea, and out of this myth grew a love for the service.

The second was the story that Philip II of Spain had to come to terms with, that perhaps God was not with him in his quest to build empire, and what then of his God, his faith, and Philip as his divinely appointed ruler?




The idea of “enough” is strongly linked to the idea of “vulnerability” and scarcity



We have to have a deep sense of

–          I am enough (worthiness versus shame)

–          I’ve had enough (boundaries, versus one-uping and comparison)

–          Showing up, taking risks and letting myself being seen is enough (engagement versus disengagement)


To protect ourselves against these forms of vulnerability, we adopt three common strategies:

–          Foreboding joy – the paradoxical dread which clamps down on joy

–          Perfectionism – believing that doing everything perfectly means that we will never feel shame

–          Numbing- the embrace of whatever deadens the discomfort or pain.

(page 116-117)

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Wholehearted Signposts

Ten Guideposts for Wholehearted Living – Brene Brown


  1. Cultivating Authenticity – Letting go of what people think
  2. Cultivating Self-compassion – letting go of perfectionism
  3. Cultivating a resilient spirit – letting go of numbing and powerlessness
  4. Cultivating gratitude and joy – letting go of security and fear of the dark
  5. Cultivating intuition and trusting faith – letting go of the need for certainty
  6. Cultivating creativity – letting go of comparison
  7. Cultivating play and rest – letting go of exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity as self-worth
  8. Cultivating calm and Stillness – letting go of anxiety as a lifestyle
  9. Cultivating meaningful work – letting go of self-doubt and “supposed to”
  10. Cultivating laughter, song and dance – letting go of being cool and “Always in control


Shame and Scarcity

She says there are three hallmarks of a culture of scarcity:

1. Shame: Is fear of ridicule and belittling used to manage people and/or to keep people in line?  Is self-worth tied to achievement, productivity or compliance?  Are blaming and finger-pointing norms?  Are put-downs and name-calling rampant?  What about favouritism?  Is perfectionism an issue?”


2. Comparison: Healthy competition can beneficial, but is there constant overt or covert comparing and ranking?  Has creativity been suffocated?  Are people held to one narrow standard rather than acknowledge for their unique gifts and contributions?  Is there an ideal way of being or one form of talent that is used as a measurement of everyone else’s worth?


3. Disengagement:  Are people afraid to take risks or try new things?  Is it easier to stay quiet than to share stories, experiences, and ideas?  Does it feel as if no one is really paying attention or listening?  Is everyone struggling to be seen and heard?”





Shame is getting laid off and having to tell my pregnant wife


Shame is having someone ask me “When are you due?” when I am not pregnant


Shame is hiding the fact that I am in recovery


Shame is ragin at my kids


Shame is bankruptcy


Shame is my boss calling me an idiot in front of the client


Shame is not making partner


Shame is my husband leaving me for my next door neighbour

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Marriage and Alone

June 9, 2013, Transcript is here


Brilliant look at Genesis 2,


Looks at the way that being alone is not the same as being single.

Also looks at leaving in marriage, and the importance of leaving the old self behind.


Also important to look at the way that we cleave, that this is the most important thing in a marriage, not the resolution of conflict but the U-Hu which holds us together.

Sergei Kourdakov and Christian Urban Myths

I had been planning to add this powerful story about endurance and suffering to the quotes from Desiring God.  I’ll still include the quote at the bottom of the article, but more disturbing is this article here, on how the story is almost certainly fabricated.  In the comments you’ll find an update on the eponymous Natasha who had never met Sergei and had not been persecuted in the way described.  It is heartening to read the Wikipedia biog of Sergei, where it transpires that the remarkable Richard Wurmbrand had spoken against the exploitation of Sergei’s story at the time.

All this put me in mind of this blog here on Christian fakery – please no more messages about the White House banning Christmas trees.  Or that Psalm 118 is the middle chapter of the Bible – claim which once took up several hours of my life counting chapters.

Anyway, here is the quote from the Persecutor:

From the Sergei Kourdakov’s The Persecutor, from Desiring God, page 275


I saw Victor Matveyev reach and grab for a young girl [Natasha Zhdanova] who was trying to escape to another room. She was a beautiful young girl. What a waste to be a Believer. Victor caught her, picked her above his head, and held her high in the air for a second. Continue reading