Christine Sine from Mustard Seed Associates has tagged me for a confessional meme related to Christians Confess. Accordingly, I have three confessions, some “collective” and some personal, addressed to the planet-at-large from those of us who profess to be friends of Jesus.
Here they are:
1.) I’m sorry that we in the Christian family have done such a poor job marrying soul to body. So often different streams of the Church pit one against the other, giving you either metaphysical abstraction or weak social proclamation; we draw and quarter Jesus into either “Teacher” or “Savior,” and therefore all give you a weak parody of “life to the full.” I confess that most of our actions as “the Church” have been utterly self-referential for our own perceived survival, taking little risk in truly getting to know/explore/wonder at either God or you. By being neither heavenly-minded nor of any earthly good, we have failed to provide you a true, creative, challenging alternative to life-as-usual.
2.) I’m sorry that I seem so cardboard when I share my faith with you. While I live most of my life being authentically me for better or worse, when it comes to the hope I find through God in Christ I suddenly begin speaking in a cadence that I don’t recognize, like I’m transformed into some kind of used-car salesman trying to get you to buy a Pinto or something. I think this points to my need to be more natural with God and seek out forms of Christian community that foster this honesty before I attempt to foist my idiosyncrasies on you.
3.) This is related to both above–I’m sorry that we as Christians have found it necessary to make you feel bad about yourself in order to share our “antidote,” which by implication is supposed to make you feel about the “symptoms” that we likely induced! Even though we profess that cleansing from wrong-doing and dis-integration with God and neighbor in an atmosphere of ‘no condemnation’ is the entry point to a sacred kind of living, we often resort to shaming and finding fault in order to gain the rhetorical upper-hand with you in our speech about God and Christ.
As it does little good to confess and apologize without metanoia–repentance, changing of the mind and heart–I have some things I’m saying “yes” to publicly here. I resolve to be a more integrated human being, loving and pursuing God with abandon, and having a heart that breaks with the things that break God’s. I will open my mind, will, and emotions to catch up to my human spirit in caring about life in the here-and-now, living fully in the present moment and exercising proper foresight into future opportunities and challenges. I will care more deeply about spirit and my inner development to become a more integrated, authentic person in the way of Jesus; I will pattern my outward actions accordingly, giving myself to you and our shared ecology more fully. And no matter where you are on your spiritual journey, I will honor you as someone in whom God is already at work. Perhaps if we become friends we can share perspectives with one another; I know I can learn alot from you, and I really do have a Hope within me that I’d like to open up about if you’ll give me the chance.
Tag! Absolutely anyone reading this is welcome to confess, but I specifically tag the following five ten folks (the official guidelines call for five, but I simply must ask these ten friends, as I’ll be fascinated by their replies):
There are so many others I am thinking of, but I have no idea if you’d be up for such a thing. Feel free to prove me wrong. : )
Here are the guidelines, from Christine’s blog:
“1. Apologize for three things that Christians have often got wrong. Your apologies should be directed towards those who don’t view themselves as part of the Christian community. Alternatively, apologize for things you personally have done wrong towards those outside of the church.
2. Post a comment at the originating post so others can keep track of the apologies.
3. Tag five people to participate in the meme.
4. If desired, send an email with the link to your blog post at the Christians Confess site, giving permission for your apologies to be added to the website.”
Oh…and one last one: I’m sorry for all those who have tagged me in memes previously without my participation! I’m not in this instance obligating myself to every such future invitation, but I probably really meant to act on yours. It’s just that I’m finally blogging now!
This post was originally posted on August 7, 2007. Since that time, I think I have gotten better at #2.