Face to Face: Knowing God Beyond Our Shame (Book Review)

Canadian Orthodox Messenger

Face to Face: Knowing God Beyond Our Shame (Book Review)

by Fr Leonard Herrem

I have been waiting for the release of this book for more than a year (God has continued to teach me patience). The discussion from Fr Stephen has been worth the wait.

“Shame is often treated as a problem or an affliction, and those suffering from shame are described as victims.“ (p.145)

Fr Stephen discusses a much more profound description of shame that takes us to the depths of who we are as people. Fr Stephen uses the language and teachings of the Orthodox Church with great skill to bring us to a relationship with God that reflects the mystery of who God is and His love for us.

The distinction between toxic shame, as described in the quotation above and healthy shame is a key. Perhaps it is the key to our healing, forgiveness and salvation. Toxic shame is truly deadly. Healthy shame is medicine. Healthy shame is a gift from God that helps us recognize our fallenness in need of God’s healing power.

“The first great struggles with shame of any sort is to recognize it for what it is and to call it by its true name. The second great struggle is to bring it into the presence of Christ and sit with it, seeking neither to distance ourselves, to blame others, nor to avoid His gaze.” (p.125)

The reflection from Fr Stephen has provided a wonderful, peaceful, thought provoking and humility producing journey to see God from the vulnerable place in my life that can live in God’s love. 

Thank you, Fr Stephen.

Available at Ancient Faith Publishing.