Sr. Mary Kansier, MS sent me the following story.
A loosely constructed booth, made of PVC pipe and covered by maroon cloth, sat quietly on the Plaza of the Americas on Wednesday. A small, white sign invited perplexed looks and slowed paces of passers-by with its one-word label: “Confessions.”
But there was no priest inside the box. No offer of absolution or suggestions for penance.
Instead, a group of Christian students sought to invite the other side – a listener. They wanted to apologize for what they deemed their own moral shortfalls in not living how Jesus intended. They’re sorry for the bad image Christians might have on campus.
Russell McMullen, a UF sophomore involved in Campus Crusade for Christ, organized the reverse confessional.
“We used this to try and let people take a fair look at Christ and not just prejudge and write it off as a hateful and intolerant religion,” McMullen said.
He said some students who saw the booth were confused at first and thought they were being invited to confess their own sins. They were quickly assured that McMullen and his friends would be the ones giving the face-to-face confessions in the tent.
“Otherwise, I don’t think we would have gotten anybody to talk to,” McMullen said. Judging, hurting and not showing love to people were named as the Christian group’s transgressions, offered on behalf of the whole church.
McMullen didn’t get more than 20 students inside in the booth today, which stood under the shade of trees on the Plaza, but he expects more throughout the week. He’ll man the operation until Friday.
Graham Wigle, a UF freshman, took over the booth while McMullen went to class. Wigle said students walking across campus often get inaccurate representations of Christianity from sign-wielding preachers on Turlington Plaza.
The confessional is also meant to encourage Christians to be more humble, he said.
“We’re imperfect. We stink,” Wigle said. “We want to point people to the real Jesus.”
Bless me secularist for I have sinned.
Rather an interesting experiment. Kind of like Pope John Paul II’s purification of memory on a one-to-one level. Now whether any of the non-Christians hearing this will absolve Christians in general of their sins in their own heart is another story. It also points to another trend of some Evangelicals adopting something of Catholic practice to their use even if in a rather odd way. There were stories this Lent of Evangelicals following some Lenten practices.
Now as for the confessional being meant to encourage Christians to be more humble they have that one down right. Maybe that is one reason for the decline in use of this wonderful sacrament in general within the Church. Humility is not exactly something being reinforced all that much. I’m Ok, Your’e OK – Sorry speaking for myself I am messed up and need Christ. Self-esteem is the order of the day and you must feel good about yourself in regards to everything. You must ignore any evidence to the contrary. Since humility is simply knowing the truth of yourself and not the phony self-deprecation of a Uriah Heep the modern trend is once again against truth. The worship of self-esteem for self-esteem’s sake in schools and society does not leave room for an honest examination of conscience or even an examination of ability. We are building ourselves up to be our own towers of Babel.
Thanks be to God that I can fall down to my knees in the confessional and let my own tower of Babel collapse.