CATEGORIES: ARTICLES on Honor & Shame / Resources via MISSIO NEXUS / OTHER Cool Stuff / BOOKS on Honor & Shame /
- H/S-1 to H/S-5: Levels of Awareness of Honor/Shame in Cross-Cultural Ministry, by Werner Mischke: This 3,000-word article was published in Evangelical Missions Quarterly (EMQ), April 2015. The article is available by clicking here—or by logging into EMQonline. The article is based on a diagram-chart of the same title which is Addendum 2 in The Global Gospel. Five levels of awareness are examined:
- H/S-1: Unawareness
- H/S-2: Ethical
- H/S-3: Functional
- H/S-4: Evangelical
- H/S-5: Teleological
“H/S-1 to H/S-5”—in the forms of both the article in EMQ and the downloadable diagram/chart—are intended to help Christian leaders 1) bring to the surface default attitudes about honor/shame relative to the Bible, and 2) consider alternative beliefs and practices in the light of the Bible’s negative and positive! renderings of honor/shame dynamics.
- THE RETURN OF SHAME, by Andy Crouch. “From online bullying to Twitter takedowns, shame is becoming a dominant force in the West. Thankfully, the Bible is full of language about shame. It’s just that most Westerners don’t see it.” So reads the introduction to this article in the March 2015 issue of Christianity Today. Crouch does a fine job introducing the concepts of honor and shame. He explains how honor/shame dynamics show up, for example, in the emotional pressures emanating from social media. Crouch examines how honor/shame is relevant to contemporary life in the West—while offering gospel-centered hope. Included are quotes and sidebars from honor/shame scholars Jackson Wu and Jayson Georges of HonorShame.com. The full article is available to subscribers of Christianity Today.
- HONOR-STATUS REVERSAL: Dominant Motif of the Biblical Grand Narrative, by Werner Mischke: Published in Orality Journal, Vol. 4, No. 1, 2015. (Click to download.) Part one of this article defines and offers examples of honor-status reversal in the Bible—from a multitude of Scripture stories and passages. Honor- status reversal is literally hidden in plain sight—and prevalent enough to be considered a dominant motif. Part two of the article explores honor-status reversal as a central feature of the gospel and examines implications for cross-cultural ministry. Largely excerpted from Werner’s book, The Global Gospel.
- HONOR & SHAME IN CROSS-CULTURAL RELATIONSHIPS, by Werner Mischke: This easy-to-read 30-page article analyzes five basic culture scales through the lens of honor and shame. It includes examples from Scripture—and insights for cross-cultural partnerships. (Click to download.) The article includes a helpful chart describing some of the main features of honor and shame based on Jerome Neyrey’s book, Honor and Shame in the Gospel of Matthew.
- THE GOSPEL OF PURITY FOR ORAL LEARNERS, by Werner Mischke: Written in an academic style, this article explores how the New Testament frequently uses “purity language” to describe what God has done in Christ for humanity. (Click here to download.) The gospel is much more than a cure for sin/guilt; it is also a cure for sin as uncleanness/shame. The Western theological default toward judicial language in presenting the gospel should be supplemented by the Bible’s purity language for better contextualization among peoples for whom ritual cleansing is important. This includes Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and many tribal peoples. Largely excerpted from Werner’s book, The Global Gospel.
- THE SAVING SIGNIFICANCE OF THE CROSS IN A HONDURAN BARRIO, by Mark D. Baker. This 18-page essay touched my heart—it’s really worth the time. You’ll discover how the saving work of Christ on the cross not only saves people from the guilt of their sin; the cross of Christ can also transform the values and behaviors of people ingrained in a cycle of poverty and shame—into more authentic loving, forgiving, gracious, confident—indeed, honorable—human beings made in the image of God. (Click here to download.)
- AUTHORITY IN A COLLECTIVISTIC CHURCH: IDENTIFYING CRITICAL CONCERNS FOR A CHINESE ECCLESIOLOGY, by Jackson Wu. To what extent does Chinese culture emphasize the value of honor and shame? How does honor and shame affect the beliefs and practices of the church in China? When Westerners visit or serve there, what should they be aware of—concerning themselves and Chinese cultural values? This paper shows the way. (Click here to download.)
These Missio Nexus resources are available to its members. Members should first log in and then access the resources.
- WEBINAR: Mission in Honor-Shame Cultures by Jason Georges. Perhaps the best one-hour introduction available. A superb introduction to honor/shame dynamics in Scripture and what it means for cross-cultural ministry. Jason is the missiologist-in-residence who created HonorShame.com. Missio Nexus members: Click here.
- WEB WORKSHOP:
The Global Gospel: Western Contextualization and the Bible’s Honor/Shame Dynamics by Werner Mischke: Four webinars were conducted for Missio Nexus in February 2015, based on the four sections of Werner’s book, The Global Gospel. The webinars deliver key concepts: a) Differences between guilt and shame, b) Why we have an “honor/shame blind spot,” c) Honor/shame dynamics in the Bible—hidden in plain sight; d) Honor-status reversal as a motif of the Bible; e) How the Bible’s honor/shame dynamics overlap with the gospel; f) Five levels of awareness of honor/shame in cross-cultural ministry; and g) Honor/shame dynamics in our mission purpose, training, and practice. Missio Nexus members: Click here to view and access downloads. Both handouts and PowerPoint presentations are available for download to Missio Nexus members.
- AUTHOR INTERVIEW (March 2015) audio version: Marv Newell, Executive VP of Missio Nexus, interviews Werner Mischke concerning Werner’s book, The Global Gospel. The interview examines the significance of honor and shame in society, in Scripture, and what it means for the cross-cultural ministry and the gospel. Click here to listen.
- AUTHOR INTERVIEW (October 2015) print version: “Presenting the Gospel in Honor-Shame Cultures: A Conversation with Werner Mischke.” This is based on Marv Newell’s audio interview, edited for print publication in the October 2015 issue of the Missio Nexus Anthology.
- Mission Frontiers: “The Power of Honor”. This is the Jan/Feb 2015 issue of Mission Frontiers—from Frontier Ventures (formerly the U.S. Center for World Mission). Click here to visit page with multiple downloads. The whole magazine is devoted to the subject of honor and shame—and explores what it means for our Lord’s Great Commission. It is a fantastic introduction with mostly-brief articles about honor/shame. (Full disclosure: I served as an assistant editor for this edition and contributed an article. –wm) … Discover why understanding honor/shame has a strategic role in making disciples of all nations. Click here to download entire issue. There are articles by Sandra Freeman, Steve Hawthorne, Jayson Georges, Werner Mischke, Roland Muller, Bruce Sidebotham, Phil Thornton, Jackson Wu, and others. Download the whole issue or individual articles. If you are interesting in beginning your journey in honor/shame and what it means for global missions, there is no better place to begin than with this issue of Mission Frontiers.
- 1-page QUICK GUIDE to Honor/Shame Dynamics in the Bible (PDF): This one-page overview was published in Mission Frontiers magazine as part of their issue on “The Power of Honor”. Click here to download. It’s based on Werner Mischke’s research on honor and shame in his book, The Global Gospel. Each of ten honor/shame dynamics are defined: (1) Love of honor, (2) Two sources of honor, (3) Image of limited good, (4) Challenge and riposte, (5) Concept of face, (6) Body language, (7) Patronage, (8) Name/Kinship/Blood, (9) Purity, and (10) Honor-status reversal. Representative Scripture verses are also listed for each of the dynamics. A good tool to help you discover on your own the Bible’s honor/shame dynamics.
- WEBINAR: Honor and Shame Dynamics for Cross Cultural Ministry, by Werner Mischke (YouTube video). One-hour webinar recorded with the mission mobilization ministry Sixteen:Fifteen, September 2015. This webinar first examines a few basic features of honor/shame cultures. Secondly, Werner examines the motif of honor-status reversal in Scripture. Lastly, Werner demonstrates how The Father’s Love Gospel Booklet illustrates how honor-status reversal overlaps with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
- VIDEO: A short introduction to honor and shame in the Bible, by Werner Mischke. A 25-minute video introduction to the dynamics of honor and shame in the Bible. Covered are 6 features: 1) Love of honor, 2) Two sources or honor (ascribed and achieved), 3) Challenge and riposte, 4) Image of limited good, 5) Body language, and 6) Honor status reversal.
- POWERPOINT PRESENTATION: Knowing and sharing the blessing of Christ in the language of honor and shame, by Werner Mischke. You can use this presentation in your own training and equipping sessions. Click here to view. A thorough presentation of 153 slides addressing these issues:
- What does it mean to contextualize the gospel?
- Where does the Western blind spot come from concerning honor and shame?
- How the gospel is “embodied by culture” … there is no such thing as a “culturally neutral” gospel … and what it means to “assume the gospel”
- Comparison of “The Four Spiritual Laws” with the “Father’s Love Gospel Booklet”
- INDUCTIVE BIBLE STUDY ON HONOR & SHAME: Explore yourself or with your small group. Nine lessons which reveal the dynamics of honor and shame in Scripture. Click here to download the PDF of the Bible study.
- VIDEO PRESENTATION (43-minute teaching): “Big Shame or Big Honor? Exploring the Dynamics of Honor and Shame in Cross-Cultural Partnership”. Click here to see video.
- SLIDE PRESENTATION for “Big Shame or Big Honor? Exploring the Dynamics of Honor and Shame in Cross-Cultural Partnership”. Click here to access the free download.
- QUICK STUDY: Four 10-minute lessons on honor and shame. Click here to learn more. Here are four short lessons—10 to 15 minutes each—to introduce some of the principles of the pivotal cultural value of honor and shame in the Bible—and how it relates to building relationships—with God and across cultures.
- TWO-PERSON SKIT about honor and shame in refugee ministry. Use this with your friends who are dramatically inclined. And let them introduce the subject of honor and shame in building cross-cultural relationships—especially with refugees. Two skits compare relational skills. Funny and warm. Click here to download.
- THE FATHER’S LOVE GOSPEL BOOKLET: Present the life-transforming message of Jesus Christ in the language of honor and shame—through the story of The Prodigal Son. Available in English, Spanish, and soon, Arabic. Here is a gospel booklet which may radically change how you share the gospel. Designed to help you present with gospel in a conversational way with those who speak English as a second language. Many thousands of these booklets have been used by Christians in North America (and the Arabic version in the Middle East) to share the gospel. Check it out here.
- QUICK-REFERENCE GUIDE—Read the Bible in the Language of Honor and Shame: An 8.5 x 11-inch double-sided document in black and white that can be easily reproduced and shared. Cut the page in half—there’s one for you, and one for your friend. This little resource is a reflection of what I have learned about the pivotal cultural value of honor and shame in the Bible. It also reflects what I do when I read the Bible to reveal the honor/shame dynamics present in the text. The resource features: Primary honor/shame dynamics in the Bible / How to read the Bible through the lens of honor and shame / Recognizing the broad spectrum of words related to honor and shame / Basic cross-cultural ministry skills related to honor and shame. Click here to download.
These are some of the books (listed in alphabetical order by author’s last name) which I quote in The Global Gospel and from which I draw many of my insights about the pivotal cultural value of honor and shame in the Bible. NOTE: Clicking on the book image will take to you the book page on Amazon.com.
- Mark Baker and Jayson Georges: Ministering in Honor-Shame Cultures: Biblical Foundations and Practical Essentials. This is the finest book I know of which balances scholarly theological insight about honor-shame in Scripture—with cross-cultural ministry practicality. The cross-cultural ministry stories from Georges come primarily from living with his family in Central Asia as missionaries; for Baker, his cross-cultural ministry context is Central America. Part one is Cultural Anthropology (34 pages). Part two is Biblical Theology (50 pages). Part three is Practical Ministry (100 pages). I found the balance of the theological and the practical to be beautiful, powerful, even arresting at times. This book fills a tremendous vacuum in the literature concerning honor-shame and cross-cultural ministry.
- Brené Brown: Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead. No one has done more in the past ten years to advance the study of shame and vulnerability than Brené Brown. Daring Greatly is just one of Brown’s books that millions of readers have benefited from to overcome the toxic effects of shame, or the fear of vulnerability. I learned the phrase “shame resilience” from Brown; I believe this concept is immediately applicable to Christian discipleship. I employ her concept of “shame resilience” in The Global Gospel. Brown teaches at the University of Houston and calls herself a “shame and vulnerability researcher”. Christian leaders will benefit much from reading Brown’s work as they familiarize themselves with the concepts that this best-selling author has popularized.
- Samuel E. Chiang and Grant Lovejoy, Eds.: Honor & Shame and Assessment of Orality Preference. This FREE book download from ION (International Orality Network), (orality.net), is a readable and scholarly contribution to the literature concerning the overlap between honor/shame, global Christian mission, and the practice of orality in the world Christian movement. A total of 15 articles were written for a consultation convened by ION at Houston Baptist University in July 2014. The six articles about honor/shame are: “Reconstructing Central Asian Honor Codes via Orality” by Jayson Georges; “Naked and Ashamed: A Case Study of Shame and Honor in Central Ethiopia” by Steve Evans; “Honor and Shame in Latin American Culture” by W. Philip Thornton; “The Gospel of Purity for Oral Learners: Bible Dynamics for Blessing the Unreached” by Werner Mischke; “Rewriting the Gospel for Oral Cultures: Why Honor and Shame Are Essential to the Gospel” by Jackson Wu; and “Honor and Shame: A Review of the Process and Articles” by Christopher L. Flanders. There is another set of nine articles in the volume on “assessment of orality preference”—concerning the effectiveness of orality practice in evangelism, discipleship and leadership training. The book also includes an extensive bibliography compiled by William Coppedge of books, articles and resources concerning honor/shame in anthropology, theology and mission—as well as “orality preference assessment”. An outstanding resource! (Full disclosure: I attended this conference and contributed an article. –wm)
- David deSilva: Honor, Patronage, Kinship & Purity: Unlocking New Testament Culture. David deSilva is Trustees’ Distinguished Professor of New Testament and Greek at Ashland Theological Seminary, Ashland, OH. This book is published by InterVarsity Press, which is fitting of deSilva’s evangelical tone. He writes with a high view of Scripture and of the Lordship of Jesus Christ. This book provides a wide-ranging understanding of the social science environment of the Roman Empire—especially as it relates to honor, patronage, kinship, and purity. Moreover, the book explores the practical significance of its findings for modern-day followers of Jesus Christ.
- David deSilva: The Hope of Glory: Honor Discourse and New Testament Interpretation. In this book, deSilva provides wonderful overviews about the pivotal cultural value of honor and shame in Matthew, John’s Gospel, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Hebrews, and Revelation. Highly recommended.
- Christopher L. Flanders: About Face: Rethinking Face for 21st Century Ministry. Flanders served eleven years in Thailand as a church planter. This was his PhD thesis (Fuller). He calls for a “fundamental shift in the way we view face. This shift must involve a fundamentally different assessment of a phenomenon traditionally viewed with ambivalence and negative regard. Such a shift requires a new theological framework within which Thai Christians and missionaries might more appropriately frame the issues of face” (p. 3). Flanders surveys why face is a universal human dynamic, not merely an East Asian dynamic. Flanders also shows— from original source documents—why the West’s legal framework for the gospel contributed to the Western missionary’s bias against the honor-shame dynamic of face. Flanders demonstrates conclusively the unfortunate result: for more than 150 years, the Thai people have viewed Christianity as a Western religion inimical to Thai culture. The last section of the book beautifully examines how salvation and the Christian faith can be understood through the concept of face—with the hope that this would be more readily accepted in the Thai social context. Flanders is honest in his critique of Western cultural bias in the missionary enterprise. He is also optimistic in offering fresh, biblically faithful ways, to articulate the gospel of Christ where face and social harmony are pivotal cultural realities.
- J. E. Lendon: Empire of Honour: The Art of Government in the Roman World. This book demonstrates conclusively that a culture of honor and shame is what held the Roman Empire together—politically and socially—from the ruling class to the slave class. Referencing archaeological discoveries and citing numerous original writings of the Romans themselves, Lendon shows that the “despotism rooted in force and fear enjoyed widespread support among the ruling classes of the provinces on the basis of an aristocratic culture of honor shared by rulers and ruled” (from description on Amazon.com). Published originally by Oxford University Press, Lendon’s book is readable and scholarly. Empire of Honour is an excellent resource to understand the honor/shame context of the Roman Empire into which Jesus was born.
- Werner Mischke: The Global Gospel: Achieving Missional Impact in Our Multicultural World. The Global Gospel describes how the honor/shame dynamics common to the Bible and many Majority World societies can be used to contextualize the gospel of Christ—all so that the gospel will be more widely understood and received. The book organizes and explains nine different honor/shame dynamics of Bible societies—plus one honor/shame motif, how they are represented in Scripture, what it means for contextualizing the gospel, and how it relates to the world Christian movement. You’ll be led on a journey beyond a legal framework of the gospel—to one that is “legal plus regal.”
- Roland Muller: Honor and Shame: Unlocking the Door. This is the book that introduced the conversation about honor and shame to evangelical mission practitioners. It is probably the most widely read book about honor and shame in the missions community. Muller writes from the perspective of a Christian missionary who served in the Middle East for many years. Although not scholarly, this book is a terrific introduction to the subject of honor and shame in cross-cultural ministry. Muller focuses more on the honor/shame dynamics of the host culture of Muslims than on the honor/shame dynamics of the Bible itself. The one area where it lacks is that he rarely cites outside sources, so he sometimes makes generalizations based on anecdotal evidence. But that’s okay. Muller did so much to advance the conversation about honor and shame with this book. His Scriptural insights and his stories from personal experience in the Middle East are wonderful.
- Roland Muller: The Messenger, the Message, and the Community: Three Critical Issues for the Church Planter. Muller researched church planters in the Middle East whose ministries had three criteria: 1) They had “numerical results”; 2) they “had experience in gathering new converts into fellowships, either through local church situations or into separate convert fellowships”, and 3) they had “long-term results”. Then Muller discovered what these church planters had in common and categorized the results: 1) What kind of “Messenger” were they? 2) What kind of “Message” did they share; how did they contextualize the gospel? 3) What kind of “Community” was most fruitful and effective? Muller addresses the issues of honor and shame throughout the book, and what he writes about the crucial issue of community is highly significant. He addresses a difficult question: How do Muslim background believers become part of the church—the community of believers? All in all, this is a very practical volume, a great resource for cross-cultural workers. Like Muller’s Honor & Shame, however, the book lacks citations. For example, he offers little supporting evidence for the claim that the Roman Empire was primarily a guilt- and law-based society. To the contrary, the Roman Empire—despite its emphasis on law making—was held together by the values of honor and shame, as demonstrated conclusively by J.E. Lendon’s Empire of Honor, referenced above.
- Jerome H. Neyrey: Honor and Shame in the Gospel of Matthew. Jerome Neyrey SJ delivers a scholarly understanding of the social dynamics of honor and shame in the Roman Empire—particularly as it relates to the writing of the Gospel of Matthew. I took my time going through this and found it a chock-full of insights and new understanding. I love this book. Neyrey is a retired professor from Notre Dame University. He is a Jesuit scholar who writes with a high view of Scripture and of Jesus Christ. Neyrey also has his own website with a fantastic variety of articles on the New Testament. These articles offer his social science perspective on various topics and Scripture passages to aid in the interpretation of Scripture. Very helpful!
- Jerome Neyrey and Eric Stewart, Eds.: The Social World of the New Testament: Insights and Models: As I was doing my research for The Global Gospel, I turned to this volume several times. That’s because it gathers fourteen already-published, highly readable articles from key scholars on various topics. Some of the topics include: The Patron-Client Relationship … Economics … Honor and Shame … Purity … Social Location: Jesus … Social Location: Jesus’ World … Gender … Limited Good. The various authors are experts in their field and offer outstanding insights. All of the chapters are relevant to studying honor/shame dynamics in the social world of the New Testament. Also, the section introductions are elegant, highly quotable summaries.
- Stephen Pattison: Shame: Theory, Therapy, Theology. The value of this scholarly work is that it shows how difficult, complex, and pervasive the problem of shame really is. His work helped me to not underestimate how stubborn and persistent shame can be for people and communities. His survey of therapies was also helpful in categorizing various approaches to the treatment of shame. The last section of the book (on theology) was helpful in this regard: It demonstrated better than any other book I have read—how the church can be an agent of shame; even Christian doctrine can be cause for unhealthy shame. For Christians, this is something to reckon with. The last section of the book was also the most disappointing: The book offered precious little from the vast storehouse of treasure in God’s Word to counter the debilitating effects of shame.
- Robert Jewett, Wayne Alloway, John Lacey, Eds., The Shame Factor: How Shame Shapes Society. This book has eleven articles by experts on this one subject: the pathological impact of shame on society—and how the gospel speaks to this sinful pathology. The articles are scholarly in tone, readable—and interesting! The article by James W. Jones, “Shame, Humiliation, and Religious Violence”, introduced to me the role of shame as a catalyst for violence—in Nazi Germany and in Islamic terrorism. Other compelling articles include “Justification by Grace: Shame and Acceptance in a Country Jail” … “Avoiding Shame in Ancient Israel” … “Overcoming Shame in Slave Songs and the Epistle to the Hebrews” … “Turning Shame into Honor: The Pastoral Strategy of Ancient Israel”. The Shame Factor is an essential addition to the scholarship about honor and shame, what the Bible says about the pathology of shame, and the varied ways that the gospel offers the cure .
- June Price Tangney and Ronda L. Dearing: Shame and Guilt. This is considered the finest book available to differentiate the causes, features and results of guilt versus shame—from a social science perspective. The book is based on decades of social science research at various universities. It demonstrates conclusively that, from a social science perspective, guilt is more likely to lead to healing behavior, whereas shame is more likely to lead to hurtful behavior. The implications for Christian ministry and the gospel are profound. Pastors and cross-cultural workers will gain much from the insights of this book. They will gain a longing to address the problem of sin and shame because of the great harm that shame does to individuals, families, and societies all over the world.
- Timothy C. Tennent: Theology in the Context of World Christianity: How the Global Church is Influencing the Way We Think About and Discuss Theology. This book is wide-ranging! And the chapter on honor and shame (chapter 4) is thrilling in depth and clarity. I would recommend any serious student who wants to examine the theological issues relative to honor and shame to begin with this chapter—just 25 pages! Chapter 4 is titled, “Anthropology: Human Identity in Shame-Based Cultures of the Far East”, but the application extends to the entire Muslim world. Timothy Tennent is the President of Asbury Theological Seminary, and writes from broad experience internationally as a Christian theologian and professor. This volume has ten chapters covering the “emergence of a global theological discourse”. Written from a solidly evangelical perspective, this hardback textbook-like volume is so rich in content, it is hard to imagine why it is so inexpensive.
- Jackson Wu: Saving God’s Face: A Chinese Contextualization of Salvation through Honor and Shame. It is a goal of proper hermeneutics to come as close as possible to how the original authors would have understood their message and the original hearers would have understood that message. Toward that end, this book helps unpack the honor/shame dynamics of Scripture and how this relates to the gospel. In Saving God’s Face, Wu offers fresh groundbreaking principles about contextualizing the gospel. Thoroughly evangelical, Wu ties together Reformed theology with the value of social science in hermeneutics. Yes, he writes for the Chinese context, but this book is applicable to anyone interested in better understanding Romans and Galatians, as well as those serving among Majority World peoples for whom honor and shame is a vital cultural value. I found this book literally loaded with insights. A caution, though: This is a PhD thesis and is difficult to read.
- Jackson Wu: One Gospel for All Nations: A Practical Approach to Biblical Contextualization. This book, released in 2015, simplifies and advances upon what Wu developed in his book Saving God’s Face. See my book review here, which ends with this sentence: “One Gospel for All Nations by Jackson Wu shows how the gospel we present can both be more faithful to Scripture and more relevant—perhaps more relevant than we ever imagined.”
NOTE: The website HonorShame.com is the premier website for resources concerning honor/shame in the Bible and what it means for Christian ministry. I encourage to you visit HonorShame.com, subscribe to its blog, and become familiar with its recommended resources. –wm