Mudwitch, for shame
Thank you, Mudwitch, for your comments. You suggest that "moral codes are our human fine tuning of our genetically inherited shaming mechanisms" and quote Heifetz, "some of us are ambivalent about giving power, and other are ambivalent about taking it. Having been disappointed or abused in these relationships, some of which may strongly resemble dominance, many of us do not like to be dependent, or depended upon." You conclude, "I'd like to see UUs redeem shame, give it the respect it deserves as parent to our individual conscience and guardian of our cohesiveness, while never, ever underestimating its power."
I think we're on the same page. Too often we liberals deny the power of shame, usually by trying to overcome it with mere intellectualism. Or we operate out of our shame, unconsciously. Speaking only for myself, I would like to acknowledge my shame, drag it into fuller awareness, then work with it more consciously. I could then embrace any life-affirming shame (that children in my town go to bed hungry and homeless; that my government tortures) and work through any shame that is life-denying. As Christine Robinson noted, I have experienced shame around my spirituality; as Thandeka diagnosed, I experience shame around race and class. Such shame inhibits authentic relationship with people of different faith traditions, races or classes. (And following Heifetz, part of my authority issues stem from shame, too?)
I think Geertz wrote about religion orienting emotion within larger ideological frameworks. So far, much of my shame has been oriented in unproductive, even counterproductive, directions. Perhaps UUism can yet find a way to effectively and gracefully acknowledge and orient our human shame.