Monday Morning Confessional

I continue to be convinced that Monday Morning Confessional can be a really important weekly ritual. I know that these confessions are fairly benign, and partly for entertainment, but confessing here on Mondays is helping me to exercise an important muscle. Confession is a learned habit. The ability to confess lasts about as long as physical fitness. If I do not continually cultivate the discipline of confession in small ways (that seem insignificant), then I will not be able to do any sort of true and meaningful confession when I need to (which is often). I think that confession is one of the key elements of the Christian faith that is being overlooked by most evangelicals.

I confess that I sometimes find it hard to watch professional football. When I see a really violent  hit, I think about Junior Seau, and remember the stories of 52 year old ex-NFL players who can’t finish a sentence or walk up the stairs.  With John Fox and Gary Kubiak’s health troubles, the whole sport felt toxic to me this weekend. I know that players and coaches are not forced to do what they do. Yet with such incredibly high salaries, isn’t there at least a little coercion going on? So I am confessing that it bothers me enough that I feel a bit of guilt when I watch pro football.

I confess that I went to see “Ender’s Game” this weekend. It was an extremely well done movie. It brought up tons of ethical questions including things like the role of video games in creating a culture of violence, war crimes, and the lengths to which people will go in order to self protect. I’m trying to decide whether or not I could take my kids to see it. I think there could be some amazing ethical instruction/conversation that comes out of it.

I confess that I learned that I just finished reading Corrie ten Boom’s memoir The Hiding Place this past week. It had me feeling emotionally raw all week long. I confess that I learned something I did not know. The Siemens corporation – a multinational electronics and engineering firm – used forced labor from the Ravensbruck concentration camp during WWII. In fact, Corrie ten Boom was forced to work at Siemens while she was in the notorious death camp. I don’t know why I found it so hard to believe that a company that used death camp prisoners would still be allowed to be in business. I haven’t poked around, but I’m guessing they are not the only ones.

I confess that as I read world news – violence, corruption, injustice running roughshod over the vulnerable and those who live on the margins; all three branches of the US government plagued, dysfunctional, and corrupt; fear, shame, anger everywhere I look … I really could go on and on … It makes me glad to be serving the church. I resonate more deeply than ever with the notion that the church is meant to be a little colony of heaven in a culture of hell. I feel more and more liberated to not ask questions about the effectiveness of the church in terms of impacting culture or the world around us, and to simply focus on faithfulness with my small community, and chase it with all I’ve got. I think it is possible that the only way the world will change for the better is if we stop trying to change the world for the better, and heed Stanley Hauerwas’ call to simply be the church… be good to one another. Care for each other. Practice radical grace and random acts of kindness. Involve ourselves with the poor. These things make more sense to me than ever.

I confess that I feel technology passing me by. At some point I’m going to have to hunker down and get control on my electronic world. I confess that I’m having similar thoughts about my garage.

I confess that I’m heading out to YouthFront LaCygne for a quick 2 day retreat. I’m trying a new place because I’m friends with some of the folks who are heading up the new retreat format there. I’m old and set in my ways, so it’s a stretch for me to branch out and do something outside of Conception Abbey. I’m hopeful that the new surroundings will bring me something new to think about. I’ll try to write a post from there, but am making no promises.

Okay friends, I made my confession… time for you to make yours:

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  • Apropos of last Monday’s confession, I confess that I also curse (usually to myself, under my breath). But instead of calling myself a “frickin’moron”, I usually say, “f-me, f-me, f-me” (as I reflect on some stupid or awkward remark that I made in an attempt to be clever or perhaps just sociable).

    I confess that (based on my best understanding and past experience) the best way to respond to such self-talk is simply to observe it–be the space for it…

    [“I think it is possible that the only way the world will change for the
    better is if we stop trying to change the world for the better, and heed
    Stanley Hauerwas’ call to simply be the church… be good to one another.
    Care for each other. Practice radical grace and random acts of
    kindness. Involve ourselves with the poor.”]

    Just as the best way to respond to the inner critic is to allow it to be, in the light of awareness, so– IMO –another important function of the Church is to be the light of awareness for the world. The trouble with this is that, in our prophetic fervor, we tend to become self-righteous and judgmental in a way that may reinforce the disfunction rather than transforming it.

    I am tempted to quote Anthony de Mello’s teaching on “Awareness” yet again (, but instead will share this quote which appeared in my Facebook newsfeed recently:

    “When we maintain awareness, whether we know it or not, healing is taking place. If we practice long enough we begin to sense the truth: we come to understand that the ‘now’ embraces the past and future and the present. When we can sit with a simple mind, not being caught by our own thoughts, something slowly dawns, and a door that has been shut begins to open. For that to occur, we have to work with our anger, our upset, our judgments, our self-pity, our ideas that the past determines the present. As the door opens, we see that the present is absolute and that, in a sense, the whole universe begins right now, in each second. And the healing of life is in that second of simple awareness. Healing is always just being here, with a simple mind.” ~ Charlotte Joko Beck

    Matthew 5:43-48 is also worth a look! 🙂

  • Tim_Suttle

    I think you should be my spiritual director, Wayne.