Jeff Haanen

Yesterday we at Denver Institute for Faith & Work had the privilege of welcoming author and psychiatrist Curt Thompson to Denver. We began with a conversation with pastors on how shame influences our brains, our vocations, and pastoral ministry; we then heard Curt speak at Colorado Community Church to 150 attendees on how to heal shame through retelling a different story about ourselves; he ended his time giving a workshop on shame for therapists in the Denver area.

His combination of neuroscience, psychiatry, interpersonal biology, Christian theology and spiritual formation practices was, well, I’ve never heard anything like it…

The videos of his talks will be available on our vimeo channel in about a month. Until then, here are some of my favorite quotes from his time with us.

Seven Quotes from Curt Thompson on Shame

1. “Shame is directly connected to your ability to do creative, liberating work.”

2. “Shame was operative in the garden of Eden even before Eve ate the fruit; the serpent introduced it before the Fall.”

3. “We are best able to create, as God does, when we are ‘naked and unashamed'” (Gen. 2:25).”

4. “The healing of shame takes place through the process of being known, through vulnerability in community.”

5. “Pastoral ministry is one of the hardest jobs on the planet. Where can pastors go to talk about their shame?”

6. “If you were not afraid of being ashamed, what risks would you take in your job?”

7. “Paying attention to the Holy Spirit is first paying attention to your body, and how your body is responding to shame.”

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  • Celtic Woman
    9:28 PM, 18 September 2016


  • Celtic Woman
    9:30 PM, 18 September 2016

    If you buy this load of crap, then you deserve to fall prey to this psychobabble.

  • Celtic Woman
    9:51 PM, 18 September 2016

    Excuse me, but when does the Holy Spirit have anything to do with how your body is reacting to shame? This statement alone is almost blasphemous. The healing of shame has nothing to do with the money-making scheme of being known. It has everything to do with the finished work of Jesus on the cross. This cannot get any more of a sham. This is nothing but psychiatric babble under the guise of Christianity. It is, quite frankly, dangerous.

    • Cris
      5:10 AM, 19 September 2016

      Your claiming to know what Dr. Thompson is specifically talking about without you inquiring or asking specific questions shows an extreme lack of wisdom coming thru in your remarks. Pursuing understanding requires seeking verses simply responding. Please be wise as you’ll bless others and glorify the Lord. Otherwise your acting liking a blind person described throughly the book of Proverbs.

  • Celtic Woman
    10:00 AM, 19 September 2016

    Just read the comments!!! They speak volumes.

    • Celtic Woman
      10:02 AM, 19 September 2016

      Pardon me. Read the quotes. You really think that is Bible based? It is far from it.

  • neverhart
    6:06 PM, 19 September 2016

    Might I encourage us to be gracious in our comments and avoid a harsh tongue? I have received Dr. Thompson’s words and his extensive work in the spirit of God’s redemptive work in ALL of creation. Everything is broken… and God created psychology/psychiatry and He desires to use it to help us understand these concepts of shame and flourishing (as well as others). Having Jesus come into our lives and fill us with His Spirit doesn’t “magically” remove shame and immediately bring flourishing. We are called to the hard and disciplined work of seeking Him, meditating and diving into the harsh realities of who we are and how we are broken. Growing in awareness of our shame and how it can affect us is key to aiding us in our prayer life and our pursuit of wholeness in Christ. I have really appreciated Dr. Thompson’s insights in the benefits of “being known” within community and how God has designed to use that in our lives.

  • Celtic Woman
    1:34 AM, 20 September 2016

    This is poison. Feel free to drink the Kool-Aid. You have been warned.

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  • Imma
    8:32 PM, 23 December 2016

    Dr. Curt Thompson states:
    2. “Shame was operative in the garden of Eden even before Eve ate the fruit; the serpent introduced it before the Fall.”

    Genesis 1:31 And God saw every thing that He had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
    God says in the Genesis passage that everything that he had made was very good.

    If statement 2 is true, then Dr. Curt Thompson is actually saying God is a liar.
    Numbers 23:19 God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind.
 Has he said, and will he not do it?
 Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?

    Because Dr. Curt Thompson states that shame existed; then it stands to reason (according to him) that everything was not good. However, according to the Genesis account; shame WAS NOT operative in the garden before the fall!!

    And I’ll add one more passage: Colossians 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.

  • crossties1
    1:47 AM, 13 November 2017

    Although the thread is old and not likely to garden conversation I would like to reply to the comments by Celtic Woman and Imma, if not for their sake than for those coming along after, such as myself.
    If you wish to believe that your definition of a word can be and is the universal and unquestionable definition of the word, for instance “shame”, then by all means there is nothing left to say here. You will remain with whatever other perspective you have formed. If you acknowledge that you are coming in basically in the middle of a conversation, where “shame” has already been explained and defined and the context of these quotes has been removed, you can start to hear the purpose of the message.

    Within the context of these quotes, shame is NOT guilt. It is not a result of an act. It is not the result even of a sin. It is a negative self-judgement. It CAN exist without a single ‘wrong’ act. Just as a child will refrain from answering a question out of fear of being wrong or being laughed at or being ‘less than’. There is no sin in that, certainly.

    All things were not only good, but man was Very Good. Man was the recipient of God’s blessings in a way no other part of creation was. That does not put man in a bubble. Do we expect Adam and Eve to have been immune to scrapes to the skin if they scraped against a rock? Neither would the injury of shame necessitate there to be sin. Their hearts could still hurt and be without sin.

    And maybe for some the Holy Spirit is some distant and unattached phenomenon and can not interact in a physical way with us. But there is nothing blasphemous throughout the scriptures about the Spirit interacting physically. Why is it blasphemous in this context?

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