Anytime a McBean asks a question that SEEMS to have an obvious answer, it’s probably a set up. (We are shameless about this.) Yesterday Scott distinguished between guilt and shame as follows: “guilt is the sense that I’ve done something wrong whereas shame is the sense that I am inherently wrong”. He asked if shame is always wrong, which on first blush seems like the answer should be “YES!” because, how can shame be right when it asks us to believe that we are FEELING as if we are inherently wrong? That cannot be right, can it? We are knit together by God himself in our mother’s womb; there are bumper stickers that have taught me that God doesn’t make junk – and I believe them!
But since a McBean is asking the question, there’s got to me more to the story! And it turns out, it’s complicated. Tomorrow Scott is going to use a baseball story to challenge our current cultural aversion to shame. Today, I turn to the world of basketball.
Late last night my husband and I were driving home from Atlanta, where we had spent a few days mom sitting while my dad went on a trip (my mom suffers with Alzheimer’s). We were on that stretch of road south of Petersburg that seems…endless. And Pete decided to engage me in a conversation about shame. Here’s how he set it up.
It turns out that there is a basketball player by the name of D-Angelo Russell (plays for the Lakers) who made a video of another team mate talking in the locker room about cheating on his fiance. D-Angelo says he recorded this as a goof. Somehow it miraculously got leaked to the media and now the world has seen it. D-Angelo has apologized and feels terrible about this incident. The team mates of D-Angelo Russell are OUTRAGED by this breach of brother bonding, and he is being shunned, ostracized, and generally maligned by the sports world. Oh, and for what it’s worth? Evidently he’s quite a good player. I don’t know how this relates, but it seemed important to Pete.
Pete’s question is this: where’s the shame about the player who is cheating on his fiance? Let’s all agree that D-Angelo was at best unwise in taping anything in a locker room. But once we move past that, where is the shame in this story? Does it rest with breaking the brother bond? Or does it rest on the big strong shoulders of a whole team of NBA stars who find it reprehensible to video tape a cheating confession, but evidently saw no problem with one of their own cheating on a woman who is getting ready to walk down the aisle and pledge sacred vows of fidelity with one of their brothers?
What do you think? Does shame belong in the heart of someone in this story, or no one? Is another emotion more….true? Should this be a story that inspires guilt as opposed to shame? Is there any place on this big green planet for the emotion of shame? Remember: if we decide that shame is appropriate for anyone, we must accept that there will be times when it is also appropriate for each of us.