Virtual Voices

Politicizing confession

Religion

A group called Changing the Face of Christianity is launching a new campaign to encourage Christians to confess their shortcomings.

There's a lot in that sentence, isn't there? Confession is a blessed thing when done rightly. When we confess our sins, the Scriptures tell us, God is faithful to forgive them. One cannot be a Christian, in fact, without confession. It's a sad commentary on the state of modern Christianity that a group has to urge people who call themselves Christians to confess their sins.

But there's an underlying element of ideology to the campaign that calls into question its intent. The group's leader, R. Brad White, shares that his confession is homophobia, which by his definition includes the orthodox Christian understanding of marriage and homosexuality. In other words, his confession is a sideswipe at Christian dogma itself. I suspect some of the other confessions garnered by this project will likewise blend the personal with the political.

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What's more, it's not even a confession, at least not as I understand it. Having held, presumably, to the dogma of the Church, White at some point in the past publicly repudiated it, and threw in with a group dedicated to representing the Christian understanding of marriage and homosexuality as wicked.

Further, White isn't even confessing to having done something to uphold the Christian dogma he now rejects. Instead, he "allowed" Christian leaders who uphold this dogma to represent him without opposition.

In other words, White's confession is really about someone else's "sin." And this "sin" is in fact an historically grounded understanding of Christian dogma that remained undisputed until Bishop Spong and the dilettantes of the Jesus Seminar emerged to make 2 + 2 = 5 in the eyes of a reconstructed God.

This has more affinity with the devil than with the Creator. It's the devil, after all, who comes to God denouncing the legal violations of other creatures. It's the devil who wraps himself in legality and slippery interpretations of Scriptures, all with the intent not of bowing his own knee, but entrapping all mankind who fall short of the glory of God.

So by all means, confess. You confess your black heart and I will confess mine. Our own sins, the sins of intention and evasion, of commission and omission, of subtlety and brazenness-these are enough to occupy all our time before God, don't you think?

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