I confess that I’ve been so happy over the past few weeks as more of you are jumping into on Monday Morning Confessional with confessions of your own (mostly on Facebook). If we aren’t friends yet, send me an invite & you can read them there.
I confess that I think confession is essential to a healthy soul. The practice of confession is all but disappearing from our culture. I think it’s being replaced by gossip, where we condescendingly make other people’s confessions for them… otherwise known as judging :-). I hope you’ll consider making Monday Morning Confessional a weekly ritual in your life. I know that here we make somewhat trivial confessions, but I think it serves to prime the pump. Dumping our deepest darkest secrets on the internet wouldn’t be healthy at all. Yet, I think a little bit of public confession, with appropriate discretion, (I didn’t mean for that to rhyme), can help us begin to use this highly atrophied and inflexible muscle again. So thanks, and keep it up.
I confess that Kristin and I went to see Gravity on Saturday for a quick date night. I have to say I did not enjoy it at all… We left feeling traumatized (I know that some of you will read that and immediately hop online to buy tickets… I’m sure you will love it). It was totally predictable. There was never a moment – especially when new information was revealed – that I didn’t know exactly what was going to happen next. It was essentially one horrific situation after another, and it became a touch absurd. Gravity is like Open Water set in space, with amazing visual effects. We saw it in 3D. If it doesn’t win an award for special effects, then there is no justice. I think the low point was when they tried to construct a back story for Sandra Bullock’s character, a weak attempt at a “will to live” subplot. It left us feeling so nasty that we bailed on dinner and went home early to put the kids to bed just to have some semblance of peace. SNL’s spoof was pretty good this week. “Look at that sunrise,” the Clooney character says. Did you ever see anything so beautiful… besides me I mean?”
I confess that I’m eagerly looking forward to reading Malcolm Gladwell’s new book David and Goliath. I’m assuming that this is a riff on his article for The New Yorker, in which he explains how underdogs can win an astonishing percentage of the time, if they will change the rules of the game, or approach the game in an unconventional way. I love this article, and it has been extremely influential in my approach to church leadership. We often call our church an underdog church. I was in airports last week and the book was everywhere. I think Gladwell is a cultural prophet and I’m glad that in David and Goliath he deals with a few more spiritual themes.
I confess that I’m feeling a bit snowed under right now. Two weeks ago the flu visited our house, last week I was out of town for most of the week. Both of those weeks were only nominally productive. This week is going to be a fierce struggle to gain back control over my schedule and to make some headway again. It’s going to be tough with a little extra dose of parental responsibilities (parent teacher conferences this week). I confess that I’m tempted to cheat on my Monday Sabbath practice and go to work today… I’m forcing myself not to give in, in the hopes that the Enneagram 03 advice is true: doing nothing makes no sense to the mind of an achiever, but it makes perfect sense to your soul. They don’t call them disciplines for nothing, right?
I confess that the Religion News Service is fast becoming one of my favorite online reads. They have amassed some pretty gifted writers – Jonathan Merritt, Cathleen Falsani, Sarah Pulliam Bailey just to name a few – and seem to do a good job of crashing the news of the day into the Christian perspective without become overly parochial or inbred. Nice job RNS.
I confess that everywhere I turn these days, I keep bumping into information and perspectives concerning the essential component of pain for spiritual growth and maturity. Richard Rohr always says the only way to grow is through great love or great suffering (which are often one and the same). In the life of the Christian, we are supposed to be able to approach the dark night of the soul period with at least some semblance of hope. One of the hardest things I have to make myself do is to face the darkness head on, without shrinking back or skirting around the pain of life. I know that the one thing I could never do is spout platitudes or put on a shallow idyllic facade. (Sorry if this makes the blog a dreary place sometimes. I try to keep it light, but I’m trying to lean into the lessons that the 2nd half of life has to teach us, so that I can be a worthy guide to my friends who are or will be walking this same road pretty soon.) There is a strange bit of contentedness that flows from refusing to pretend like I have my act completely together. In Falling Upward, Rohr says that the human ego prefers just about anything to falling or dying. I’m trying to fight that impulse even as I write.
I confess that this is one of the reasons I think going to church every Sunday is still an important part of a healthy life. It’s an hour each week to help us gather and connect with other seekers, and carve out some sacred space just to breath and listen; to open ourselves up to the possibility that we might need to grow beyond where we currently are. I literally cannot think of a better way to spend a Sunday morning than gathering with some other strugglers to try and reach for something that is beyond us, something transcendent, something of the divine that lives just beneath the surface of our lives. I am convinced that we only need to sit down, be quiet, breathe, and open ourselves up to the idea that our lives are sacred, which means that every moment is sacred. Discovering the reality of the nearness of God every week during worship is essential if we can have any hope of experiencing that same reality throughout our workaday week.
Okay friends, that’s my confession for this Monday. Now it’s time for yours: