I'm halfway through a very interesting book - Atonement for a Sinless Society. It's quite academic and to be honest some of it is over my head. But the fundamental ideas it wrestles with have struck me deeply First off, despite the title, nowhere does the book deny the reality or the power of sin. The author explores two fundamental aspects of the way that the Bible speaks of sin - disobedience and failure. Most of our preaching and presentation of the gospel centres on our guilt before God and speaks little of shame. But - in modern Western societies at least - the desperate need is to address shame. Shame comes from not being able to live up to our own ideals, and causes us to withdraw from others and from God. The terrible fear of the chronicly shamed is to be exposed as an inconsistent failure. It is self judgement which isolates and alienates rather than the fear of God's judgement. And so it is the story of God's acceptance of us that has the greatest potential to speak in to the lives of the shamed. I've not yet got to the end of the book, but it promises to look at the work of Jesus on the cross with a view to restoring the shamed as well as erasing guilt.