Cross/Crosses and Shame (Joe’s paper from SMPT)


Here are a few notes I took from Joe’s SMPT paper:

Shame – feeling a sense of responsibility for something you can’t actually respond/change/control.

Ashamed of accent – belongs to you, and yet, you didn’t try to learn to talk that way

Ashamed of weakness

As God says, though, He gave us weakness. Don’t be ashamed of shame. Shame here = weakness

Hebrews 12:2 says that Christ despised the shame of the cross. Doesn’t say that there wasn’t shame involved, but that he despised that shame. Joe did some work on the Greek and the work for despised means something like ignored, didn’t engage with, wasn’t worth thinking about.

He also did a lot of philosophical thinking about the word shame, and about how shame was involved with crucifixion. His reading is that what is shameful about it is that your human weakness is fully on display. Naked. Bleeding. In pain. But also: can’t swat at flies, can’t stop from peeing, etc. All human, mortal experience is on display, and you can’t cover any of it.

(Makes me think of Adam and Eve trying to cover their nakedness. I like to think in part that this is symbolic of their realization that they are weak and have no protection from whatever God might do to them. Not just that they should wear clothes like we do, but that they are completely vulnerable.)

So what does this say about Christ despising the shame of the cross? (I am summarizing my thoughts from a half-hour long philosophical paper, mind you.) It means that Christ was not ashamed of his shame. Was not ashamed of his weakness. Did not try to cover his weakness. Did not shrink from his weakness and ability to feel pain. He was mortal and did not hide that fact from the world.

In the Book of Mormon, Jacob talks in two different places about us and crosses. The discussion centered around what that might mean for us. Mostly, we talked about how the crosses of the world might be when the world wants us to feel ashamed of our shame — ashamed of our weakness. Times when the world wants to join in public social disapproval of us. (As people, or as the Church as a whole.)

(This also makes me think of the partakers of the fruit of the tree of life who were mocked by the people in the worldly building. Those who were ashamed left, and were no longer seen at the tree or the building.)

Joe also discussed the difference between not being ashamed of shame, and being completely unashamed. Here’s a summary:

Ashamed of shame = hiding of body, weakness

Not ashamed of shame = recognition of body, weakness

No shame = embrace of body, weakness

You might also say this:

Ashamed of shame = hiding of body, weakness = trying to be fully in control

Not ashamed of shame = recognition of body, weakness = admitting what we do and don’t control

No shame = embrace of body, weakness = pretending to have no control

(Only the middle one really takes up agency in a productive way)

Question for future thought: what does all this mean about our own resurrection?

 

 

 

 

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