Archive for the ‘confession’ Category

The kickstarter Documentary <a href=http://givemesexjesus.com/?>Jesus, don’t let me die before I’ve had sex</a> is now fully funded with a day to spare.

Estimated release is mid 2013.  I’m looking forward to it.  Hurrah.

Anyway, I suppose it is worth adding a little bit of personal reflection on this.

I did not date in high school nor to much or my early twenties.  There were a lot of reasons for this, but it wasn’t for lack of opportunity.  It wasn’t even for lack of attention or interest.  It was largely because I didn’t know how.  I did not even know that it was a skill to be learned.

Unfortunately what filled the empty space in my mind was not practical, secular -yes secular– wisdom but fundamentalist folk teaching that was taught to by an amalgamation of church camps and bible bookstore best sellers.  All of it kept the party line of abstinence, seeking God first, praying for your future spouse, and not wasting time dating but courting -whatever the fuck that is.  I feel overall that the teaching was relationships were to be delayed until God brought a spouse to you and that romance was to be disconnected of sexuality.

The church “just guy times”-at least when it came to sexuality and relationships- were pretty much condemnation fests.  There was a lot of emphasis placed on not lusting with your eyes, even though physical attraction was okay.  So basically we were allowed to be physically, but not sexually attracted, to anyone.  Additionally, we were taught, that way-ward women would (as my friend cleverly put it once) “steal our souls with their vaginas.”  Risk and vulnerability were also things to avoid.  A friend of mine once told me that he didn’t want to give his future wife “a scarred up heart.”  Never mind that God still loves a scarred up heart.  Also that which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.

Most of the guys who were teaching us to repent of our sexuality were married and with kids.  I.e. they were “successful.” so most of us clueless 15-18 year old guys believed them.  Sadly, those moral paragons turned out to have feet of clay.  How else can you describe it though when what is alleged to be “biblical teaching” is little more than a social convention? It is  only “right” because of how often it is repeated and taught.  In fact, I’m fairly well read Christian, but I had to read something written by a pyscho-balls atheist woman before coming across a very thoughtful affirmation of male sexuality.

The biggest irony of all this is that most of that dogma actually caused me to sin.  Not that I blame it, per se, but the dogma certainly did not help me with handling relationships very well.  How?  Well getting into a relationship is a little bit like water flowing down a hill.  The evangelical dogma is like a overly complicated system of dams, buckets, and pipes to ensure that the water flows down the hill exactly as its supposed too.  Also, if you’re taught that a “scarred up heart” will fuck-up your relationship with your divinely appointed future spouse, what does that say about every casual date?  In Azusa Pacific’s student newspaper, year’s ago, there was an article written by a girl encouraging (borderline begging?) guys to be more open to casual dating.  On behalf of all guys who didn’t know better, I apologize.

I repented of that behavior in the most literal sense -changing of the mind- long ago.  Things have been a lot better over the last several years.  Specifics will of course, not be listed here.  I am not concerned about the evangelical dogmas these days, although they still show up in blogs like this one.  Now,  some might say, “oh, but if you don’t date the Christian way you’ll never have a nice upstanding Christian girl to marry and put babies into.”  The subtext there is that “Christian” actually means “Evangelical.”  To those nay-sayers I reply that it’s a good thing that I feel comfortable with high-church Protestants, Catholics, and outright pagans.

Thanks for reading.

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All of us who have responded to Andrew’s Story at Mars Hill in Seattle are quite worked up.  Glenn Peoples at Beretta Online has reminded us that we are only hearing one side of the story.  I am personally grateful to him for doing so.

Andrew has made his case known and Mathew Paul Turner has played the role of the prosecutor.  This means he has the burden of proof and must present evidence.  In my opinion, he has made his case well.  He did not make vague allusions to foul treatment at Mars Hill while calling Driscoll a poopy-head.  He demonstrated a specific incident and has included written statements and correspondence from Mars Hill.  By your own words, be judged and all that.

Is Mars Hill pointing, or pointed at?

The Defendant Takes the Stand

Mars Hill now has a chance to respond.  This is good, because a candid world deserves to hear it.  As a detractor of Mars Hill, I am very happy to listen.  If you are also  not a fan of Pastor Mark Driscoll, then I please put your feelings aside as you read their response.  Maybe Andrew withheld some key information from the incident.  Maybe we can hear from his former leaders as well.  There is no doubt a lot of information that they could share, that would help us understand the situation better.  Let’s hear it:

In recent days, there has been some discussion surrounding Mars Hill Church and our process of church discipline. We do not wish to comment on the specific scenario in question, as this is a private matter between church leadership and members, all of whom have voluntarily agreed to this prior to becoming members. We do want to be as clear and forthright as possible in presenting our theology of repentance, forgiveness, and church discipline and make clear that our convictions on this come from our study of Scripture and our deep love for our members and a desire for them to enjoy the freedom that comes from walking by the Spirit in response to Christ’s work on the Cross on our behalf. At the heart of the process is our deep belief that church discipline is about the grace of God, not penance. (Mars Hill Website)

Oh… huh… well at least they offered a link to Driscoll’s book, Vintage Faith, which explains their theology.

Why would Mars Hill not offer a specific defense here?  I realize that Mars Hill isn’t under some kind of legal obligation, but I would assume that the church is concerned about its reputation before the rest Christendom.  Andrew has went public with this, but I understand that confession is often considered sacrosanct and private.  Maybe Mars Hill did not want to break confidentiality.  Let’s check that book to see if that’s why:

Members of Mars Hill Church are not guaranteed confidentiality regarding issues of church discipline, and understand that in submitting themselves to the authority of the church, issues of a sensitive or personal nature may become known to others. This includes, but is not limited to, notification of the authorities if a crime has been committed or if a real threat of someone being endangered exists, as well as other violations of scripture that may not result in physical danger.

Oh, I guess not.  Though nothing in the Andrew story seemed to imply physical danger or legality.  Maybe they wish to stay mum on the details because Andrew decided to leave.  This makes sense.  If you voluntarily join, and you voluntarily leave, then the relationship is over.  I could see why Mars Hill might prefer to let things be.

There is a sense in which you never really let the unrepentant sinner go. Though you don’t associate with him, you keep calling him back. He is put out for the purity of the church but is always admonished to come back.

Okay.  So Mars Hill is not tight lipped because Andrew left or because of guaranteed confidentiality.  In fact, this seems to imply that they still want to be involved with people who leave.  Though I guess Andrew did leave under bad terms, and is considered an unrepentant excommunicate.  Maybe Mars Hill is doing the best they can do to avoid tarnishing his reputation anymore than he already has:

If someone under discipline begins attending another church, we notify the leaders of that church that they are unrepentant and have been removed from fellowship in our church.

Nevermind.  Mars Hill does the exact opposite.  If you have a bad reputation at Mars Hill, they will do their very best to make sure you have a bad reputation anywhere.  Mark Driscoll is like Khal Drogo: he doesn’t do anything half way.

If you still feel that Mars Hill is tight lipped because it is “private matter,” don’t forget that they circulated a letter to the congregation regarding Andrew after he left Mars Hill.  Also, Andrew has gone public with this, so who are they trying to protect?  The best thing I can think of is that they do not want any current member named and “dragged into all this.”  That much is fair.  However, the response was unapologetic about their actions, and they don’t deny them either.  Is Mars Hill simply owning and acknowledging what they did?  That they feel everything was right?

The Repentance Smackdown

Mars Hill has done well to present its view of Church Discipline.  I realize it is not the entire book, but it still feels a bit lacking.   Here then, is what is mysteriously absent:

First, Driscoll’s chapter offers no details how about how a confessor (the person who hears someone else’s sins) should respond.  They make no mention of announcing Christ’s forgiveness, assuring the sinners that they are loved by God, whether to stay quiet about what you hear, how you might pray for repentant sinner, and pretty much any other act of compassion that I can think of. Remember, the recent statement from Mars Hill said: our convictions on this come from our study of Scripture and our deep love for our members.  Perhaps Mars Hill believes that we should only confess to another person if we sin against that person specifically.  Are we to keep silent then, about all other sins?

Secondly, they detail out all the signs of false repentance and conjoin true repentance with a desire to change our lives.  Yet that desire for change and actual change is seldom instantaneous.  Ask any former substance addict how long they desired change before they had actual change.  There seems to be little room for “same time justified and sinner” in Mars Hill’s church discipline.

Third, there is no mention of the sin of withholding forgiveness, or even a way to make forgiving another person easier.

Here then, are questions to consider:

1. If “true repentance” necessarily causes behavior/life changes, could this not become a salvation-by-works in practice even if it is still salvation-by-grace in theory?

2. Who judges whether or not a sinner has repented truely?  Church Leadership?  Can we trust their judgment as infallible?

3. If someone voluntarily joins a church, then voluntarily leaves, does the church have a right to negatively influence that person’s life?

4. Why is church discipline arranged in degrees of severity of punishment, rather than in degrees of restoration?

5. If you attended this church, had sinned grievously, would you feel comfortable sharing your sins with leaders at Mars Hill (James 5:15-16)?  Why or why not?

In interest of fairness

In deference to Glenn’s post, I’d like anyone who comments in this blog to be candid with their comments, but please avoid inflammatory speech.  I myself am trying to be as charitable as possible, but it is hard -from their response- to think that the conclusions Matthew Paul Turner reached are false.  Still though, if Mars Hill ever wants to offer something more specific, it would be great to hear it.

Hateful preachers are like cassette tapes. Why do people still listen to them?

A few years ago, I criticized Pastor Mark Driscoll’s angry, self-righteous, antics. At the time, I had only read praises of his popularity, and thought I was one of the few critics. Turns out I am far from alone. The entire zeitgeist of Christian blogs is starting to turn on this guy. Examples include Rachel Held Evans and sojouners magazine. Free speech and the internet topple tyrants: whether they rule Middle Eastern countries or Seattle area churches.

Is it over the top to call Driscoll a tyrant?

You can judge it for yourself if you read the story of “Andrew” in part one and part two. Please read through it in its entirety, but here’s the skinny if your in a rush. A young guy named Andrew attended Mars Hill. He became engaged to one of the elder’s daughters, but then fell into sexual sin with another girl. He confessed to his fiance, his small group leader, and others of his own volition. The reaction was not positive. They demanded that he sign and agree to a contract, in which he would have to share -in detail- his sins and was forbidden to date. Andrew felt that this was both invasive, creepy, and voyeuristic. He decided to leave Mars Hill. When he announced this, a letter was circulated to the Mars Hill community, detailing his “lack” of repentance. It detailed instructions on how members of Mars Hill were to treat him. According to Matthew 18:17.

Here is the verse:

If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But he does not listen to you take one or two more with you so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every face may be confirmed. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven. -Matthew 18:15-18 NASB

Now, Driscoll thinks that last verse means that you should shun someone from your community and publicly shame them. I ask you though, how did Jesus treat gentiles and tax collectors?

What makes the Driscoll method of church discipline so horrid is not that it is a bit cult like, but that Andrew was doing the right thing. No, not that he cheated on his fiance and lied about, but that he actually had the courage to come out and confess it. So is this how confession is supposed to work? That we should muster courage to confess, and then become chastised for it?

I’ve already discussed what I think confession could look like for evangelical protestants and why it directs us to what people already want their churches to be. Here though, is the Book of Common Prayer. The church leader responds to someone like Andrew with this statement:

Our Lord Jesus Christ, who has left power to his Church to absolve all sinnerrs who truly repent and believe in him of his great mercy forgive you all your offense; and by his authority committed to me, I absolve you from all your sins: in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Likewise, if a Lutheran minister says something like this after a prayer of public confession:

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, has had mercy upon us and for the sake of the sufferings, death, and resurrection of his dear Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, fogives us all our sins. As a Minister of the Church of Christ and by his authority, I therefore declare unto you who do truly repent and believe in him, the entire forgiveness of all your sins: In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

In both cases, the reference to “authority” is an allusion to Matthew 18:18 (“whatever you bind on earth…”). Leaders, ministers, and lay people are given an “authority.” We are given the authority to represent Christ to penitent sinners like Andrew. How should we represent him?

Andrew confessed his sin. He confessed because the Holy Spirit convicted him. There was no “finding out” and no coercion. He confessed it to the person most hurt by it. He went further confessed it to leaders. Mark Driscoll does not seem to think this enough “true repentance.” Forgiveness must be earned. Sign the fuckin’ contract, or we’ll shame you.

How would you do it?

I will admit, I have heard only a few confessions in my life. Many people reading this have probably heard more. I have never been involved in a addiction recovery group. I am completely ignorant of how church discipline is handled in charismatic circles. Neither am I a pastor or official leader. Of course, you don’t have to be to hear a confession. I’d like to know though, how would you react to Andrew? What is your church’s policy? How would your leaders react to some dark secret a member shared with them?

In closing, I am happy that Andrew had the courage to not only confess, but to leave a church that he felt abused by. That could not have been easy, since he is several states away from home and family. If he ever wants to, he could do what many evangelical diaspora do. He could check out a local Lutheran, Episcopalian, or otherwise “liberal” protestant church.

We’re a pretty fun bunch, actually.

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The LORD said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the LORD loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.” -Hosea 3:1

Authenticity is a good. The practice of confessing leads us to this and other goals. I think that most Christians would be willing to be a bit more authentic. So what stops this from happening? I suspect this does not happen because there are few who are willing to listen, not because there are few who are willing to speak.

I entitled this blog the “Charity of the Listener (aka the Confessor).” By charity, I do not mean that the listener gives away money or something. I mean it terms of Christian Charity, which is Love that surpasses our conventional thinking of love. Christian Love goes beyond loving what is similar and good in order to love what is alien and ugly. It loves that which normally unloveable. A Biblical example is the symbolic marriage of Hosea to a prostitute. God loves Israel like Hosea loves his wife. God loves that which is alien and ugly, so Christians must be willing to do the same. We have to love sinful people -most of all sinful Christians.

Hearing, and really listening, to someone accuse themselves of sin is an act of Christian charity. It means not responding with judgment and not with quick fixes. However, this act of charity begins long before a friend comes to you and says, “I have sinned.” We need the reputation as the loving listener long before because who would think to come to us otherwise? I have decided that I want to be the kind of Christian who listens. I want to have a reputation of patience and charity. This is reputation that will be hard earned. The first step to do so is to avoid harsh “tough-love” rhetoric. Judging is easy, but graciousness is hard.

Before you think of commenting on what I have said so far, please do this thought experiment with me. Before you start, try to be in a private environment and take a few moments of introspection. If you’re ready, please try this with me: think of one of your worst sins. Think back to a time when you did something or thought something that made you feel ashamed, guilty, and filled with regret. This might be a moment of envy of someone else good blessing. It might also be failure to look out for the needy. Maybe you lost your temper and became hateful. I am not asking you to tell me or anyone else what it is, but think about. Then think about how it made you feel after you realized it was sin.

With that in your heart, imagine meeting a pastor or another Christian who had this to say in a sermon:

Some of you guys are a total joke. I have no respect for you at all. You can’t get a job, keep a job, you can’t keep your hands off a girl, you can’t stop downloading porn… (source)

Or barring that, how about a message like this?

Have you ever thought that there are people who go to hell today that never thought they’d go there? You indulge in your favorite sin…You don’t want to be like God. You just want people to back off when they reprove the thing that you are in love with! (source)

Now do these approaches make you feel like being more open about your sin, or hide it more? If you are anything like most people, these are likely to make you defensive, frustrated, and possibly even a little bitter. If it makes you feel more open, what motivates you to serve God? Fear of reprisal? Guilt? Need for an authority’s approval? How long will such appeals remain effective?

What kind of approach would make you feel comfortable in being open about your sin?

I admit, There was a point in my Christian life were such rhetoric and language really made sense to me. Think though, of how it made you feel. I know I no longer have a positive reaction to this kind of stuff. If I did not have a good reaction to this than likely most other people did not either. I realized that I could not stomach this kind of thing much longer, and decided that I would repent –yes repent– of such behavior and make a conscious effort to do the opposite. I would rather be the kind of person who reminds people of God’s forgiveness, than the one who accuses them of sin.

Christian Charity means a few things. We must put our love and compassion for a sinner above a zealous tendency to renounce sin. We have to replace open contempt with patience. We must drop petty justifications for harboring resentment towards (other) sinners. We must learn to be like God who loves things that are ugly. As God listens the prayers of sinful people, so might he make us able to be listen to them too.

Now it is time for your comments…

…or the start of the series.

>Now, at long last, we can finally get around to things mentioned in the first blog. That is, our quest for authenticity, community, and humility. Those of you have been patient enough to follow this series from its beginning very likely see where this is going. Hopefully, everything I say in this blog will be mere re-affirmation of you are already thinking and feeling.

Authenticity is surely very obvious here. Authentic Christians are Christians who do not put of a front, do not wear a mask, and do not attempt to hide their sins and their struggles. The practice of confession takes it a step further. It encourages Christians to expose their sins to one another, in order that they may be healed. Interestingly enough, authenticity does not mean a violation of privacy. Those who hear eachother’s sins are assumed never to gossip about them. I myself have a group of a few friends who I confess to and vice versa. I have heard some of their dark secrets and they have heard some of mine. There is no doubt that we keep all this all between us.

Little else will encourage humility more than telling another Christian that you have done something that you are ashamed of. If one is doing the act of confession, you are not in a position to excuse your behavior or otherwise lie to yourself about the mistakes you have done. Interestingly enough, the person hearing the confession also practices humility –by biting his tongue. He must admit to himself that he cannot understand someone’s actions as well as the person who did them. He must be slow to speak and quick to understand. This is not easy for many people to do, especially if they are the person who is used to being heard.

Finally Community both precedes before and comes after the practice of confession. Think of the people who you trust most to tell them the things that you are ashamed of. You are no doubt confident that these people love you deeply. If this is the case, then you are very likely already in a good Christian community. This community is deepened as we become closer to each other, when we choose to love each other as Christ loves us.

There will be one last blog, which points to Christian Love.

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The First Point is to give thanks to God our Lord for the benefits I have received. The second is to ask grace to know my sins and rid myself of them. -The Excercises of St Ignatius 43

Because of my own upbringing, I really cannot help but think of confession and reconciliation within a Catholic framework. Most people reading this are probably well past the reactionary, fundamentalist, or otherwise fearful dogmatism and misinformation that sadly infects a lot of American Protestantism. Still, I think that there might be a little resistance to what I am about to write. I promise that that this can be put safely aside.

I will say three things to the apprehensiveness to anything “Catholic.” First, think of following important Christians beliefs: The Trinity, the Incarnation, deference to the poor, and need to evangelize the world. All of these are important to evangelicals and not to be missed. Yet, these are also important in Catholicism. Which one of these beliefs should be rejected because Catholics believe it as well? Obviously, I think the answer is none of them. Wouldn’t it make sense to be open to an idea, regardless of what group says it?

Secondly, someone might say to this that Protestants already know everything they need to know, about confessing sins and such. Now, this could very well be the case. Someone reading this may already frequently confess their sins to other Christians and have the kind of grace and Christian love that people feel comfortable confessing their sins to them, than there is nothing to be said. However, if you cannot honestly say that you have perfected this biblical practice (James 5:15-16), then is there not something that might be learned?

Finally, confession –whether public or private- is not merely a Catholic thing anyway. The Book of Common Prayer –which holds spiritual value for many protestants- contains liturgies centered around public confession. Lutheran church services also have a tradition of the confession of sin. More will be said on Luther’s –and his understanding of Grace- later on.

With these three things in mind, let’s move on.

The practice of confession and reconciliation is fairly simple. It begins with two people in a very private environment. The penitent is the one who has sinned (whether by commission or omission), and the priest plays the role of the confessor –the one who hears the confession. (Terminology is confusing, as “confessor” can mean the person hearing the confession or speaking the confession!) I will keep these definitions consistent, as one might describe two roles in a play.

The penitent knows that he has sinned. He knows that he has failed in some significant way. He knows that he willfully and consciously chose evil instead of good. This isn’t something like an accident. It is not something that can be excused by diminished capacity. The penitent is not confessing that he stubbed his toe and blurted out “God dammit” out of reflexive response. He is more likely confessing a sin he was more conscious of, such deliberate gossip, downloading pornography, or refusing to think well of one’s neighbor. It may not even be an action, but simply feelings of inordinate anger, envy or even despair. Any Christian probably knows what this feels like.

The priest (or any confessor) will play the role of Christ’s representative. He will work very hard (as I am sure they do) to love the sinner as Christ loves the sinner. In this way, he plays the role as the one who absolves sin, rather than reminds. When the priest prescribes penance, it is for the purpose of further healing, not punishment. He will also suggest to the penitent ways in which he can overcome this sin and replace it with right-thinking, feeling, and doing. It is for this reason that the sacrament of confession is usually referred to as the Sacrament of Reconciliation in the Catholic Church.

It is very important to note that the priest never plays the role of the accuser. (This is, after all, Satan’s namesake) The penitent accuses himself of sin. He is, after all, the only one who can know well enough that he has done something wrong with full culpability. The act of confession begins with “I have sinned” not “you have sinned.” How different this is from what many of us are used to! It so obviously follows the advice of Jesus to see to plank in our own eyes. It is also similar to the fourth step of recovery ministries in which the addict takes a serious, personal, moral accounting –while the rest of the group is silent!

This point is so important I want to emphasize right here: the penitent and the penitent alone will accuse himself of sin. The confessor, who hears him, responds with patience, love, compassion, and never accuses the penitent of sin.

For those of us, Catholics or Protestants, who have experienced this, we can all remember the feeling of relief that comes confessing sin to another. The feeling of absolution is something that is not always found in confessing only in private prayer. Those who are close to us and those who love us can give us another set of eyes and suggest what we might do to be healed. Further, we also open ourselves up to accountability. Simply put, there is something profoundly different about speaking one’s sin to another, and then having that other not judge you, but remind you of Christ’s forgiveness.

There are doubtless a few objections that other protestants are thinking of right now. For instance, there seems to be little emphasis on church discipline or holiness here. The sinner is to easily “let off the hook” in this scenario. Some may think that since the priesthood was abolished by Protestantism, that this practice cannot possibly be facilitated in anything but Catholicism. These two objections, though sensible, can be discussed and overcome. First, holiness is of course important but that depends on what kind of holiness we are seeking. Secondly, we need not worry about the role of a priest because it is not totally accurate to say that Protestantism “abolished” the priesthood.

You’ll read a few more protestant things in the next blog.

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“Therefore, confess your sins to one another, pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” – James 4:16

Over the last couple of weeks I have given some thought to the idea of confession of sins in between believers. I am not only referring to a sin towards someone and then apologizing for that sin. I am talking about struggling with sin in general, and confessing that to another Christian. This is a practice that is facilitated well in Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, and could happen in evangelicalism. With the exception of Anne Jackson’s project, I do not know of any evangelical organization that focuses on such. Yet, I see a need for it in evangelicalism because it can point us to three things we hope for in our communities. Here they are.

Authenticity, for instance, is a mantra among Christians. This is especially strong among twenty something post-evangelicals like myself. No one likes pretense. No one likes duplicity. You, reading this, probably can think of times in which people felt the pressure to act good, appear holy and holier, and otherwise put on a smile when they are not feeling it. Now, I am by no means suggesting that everyone should hang their dirty laundry out the window. I am only saying that Christians really do want to be able to admit that they are, in fact, really sinful people. We all want to be understood as such. Christians who struggle with depression, addictions or anything similar probably know this.

Humility is also often in short supply. Now, humility is not self deprecation. It is a frank assessment of oneself and the limits of one’s abilities. It is the willingness to be slow to speak and quick to understand. It is the quest to consider others greater than yourself, but without falling into envy or despair. It is the willingness to recognize that we cause our own problems and to recognize where we must improve. All of this must be consistently practiced. It is a task that is never ending.

We also desire an in-depth Christian community. It is true that our implicit individualism keeps many from even wanting this, but I feel that many Christians have realized that “Just me and my Bible” or “Just me and the Holy Spirit” is not the kind of faith we were really meant to have. Rather, we all believe that God puts us in church for good reason. The work of the Holy Spirit is frequently accomplished through other people in our lives. Another person’s look at scripture will improve ours. Most importantly, we realize that as much as we want to represent Christ to the world, we also want to represent Christ to each other. This, again, is something that is not easy to do, but is part of what it means to be a Christian.

These three things –authenticity, humility, and community– are all things Christians desire. They are all things that Christians need. They are all good things that we know we should have, but usually do not have. We want to live in a community of authentic human beings who love each other enough that none are afraid to admit their faults. We want to be the kinds of Christians who listen before we judge. However, we all know that this does not happen as well as it should.

I will write on the nuts and bolts of confession and reconciliation next. Please keep reading because of those future blogs.