A young man walked onto the stage at the front of the crowded room. All eyes were fixed on him. He smiled awkwardly and wondered, can I really do this? What will people think?
Heart racing and palms sweating, he gathered up his courage and began to speak softly into the microphone.
“I’m a Christian,” he said, “and I have a confession to make.
“I apologize for the Crusades and political action being confused with Christian faith. I apologize for hate crimes being perpetrated in the name of Christ and for slavery. I’m sorry for everything that we’ve ever done that has made life difficult for anyone.
“But I want you to know something. We’re really not all that bad. I hope you’ll forgive us.”
As he exited the stage, people came up to him, congratulating him on his effort. “I don’t know if I would have had the courage to say that,” they said. “That was so humble of you.”
The young man blushed and thanked them for their kind words. “I just want to be real. Authenticity is important to me.”
You’ve probably seen, heard or read something similar to this before. The Christian confessional.
This idea was most recently popularized by Donald Miller in his too-young-to-write-a-memoir memoir, Blue Like Jazz. Miller describes setting up a confession booth on a college campus where he and others would confess the sins of Christendom and ask for forgiveness.
Since the book’s release a number of similar things come out of the woodwork, whether it’s a video of a guy confessing the institutional sins of Christendom on youtube or a pastor publishing letters he wrote to people he’s sinned against in a book.
While I don’t want to judge the motivations of people who have done things like this, I have to ask the question:
Is it really authentic to publicly confess sins you didn’t commit to people who were not sinned against? [Read more…]