As you leave the hard line church or sect you are member of, you will get many versions of: “What will everyone say?” All of the versions are shaming. They all involve imagining a third party, who is not present in the room, gossiping, tsk-tsking and judging you.
1. No-one agrees with you. This usually means: “No-one in the sect agrees with you.” There are lots of people who agree with you, they are just not part of your hard line church or sect right now.
2. Do you teach what Carl Ketcherside teaches? This is code for: “We’ve been throwing mud and kicking sand at Carl Ketcherside (or fill-in-the-blank name here) for years. Do you really want the same level of mud slinging at you?” It is not a question, it is a threat. It is also a way to end the discussion, that the person is probably losing with you. Instead of having to answer your questions that are too difficult to answer, they can just file you away into a pre-made comfortable file supplied by the sect.
3. The sermon about you. This is designed to be able to tell you what to believe without having you back talk. It is also designed as a shaming mechanism. You are being exposed in front of everyone as a person in error in need of a sermon. You should feel complimented. Your questions and comments in Bible class have prompted a full scale rebuttal by the preacher. Your questioning of the status quo is so powerful that it is perceived as a threat.
4. The online Debate/Discussion. If you are/were a preacher in the Churches of Christ, you will probably be challenged to an online debate or discussion. This is a bigger version of The Sermon about you (see # 3 above).
What you will seldom hear:
1. Those are interesting questions you are asking.
2. I’ll have to think about that.
3. Come over to my house and we’ll talk about it.
These phrases do not contain the important shaming element of the third party tsk-tsking and judging you, often referred to as a triangle, or triangulated communication.
Every challenge to the accepted beliefs of a sect or hard line church is taken as a challenge to their honor or pride. When their pride or honor is challenged they will usually respond by shaming. Almost every discussion Jesus had with the Sadducees and Pharisees involved a challenge to Jesus’ honor. They finally killed Jesus in the most shaming way they could come up with.When the shaming becomes too much, we need to remember that all of our shame is nailed to the cross, and Jesus’ glory is given to us as a gift.