The church’s obsession with sin…how do you feel about it?
And encouraged by the church authorities, do you sometimes join in the obsession?
It’s not a healthy approach in most walks of life.
Take a marriage, for instance.
Imagine a marriage in which partners trawl around for faults in the other, as the starting point for the day; as a prerequisite for relationship.
‘We can now enjoy breakfast together, darling, but first you will need to apologise for the following aspects of your life that I have noticed of late…’
We don’t do it; it’s an obsession that crucifies relationship. Just enjoy breakfast together.
And the child of this obsession is the confession in church services, which is deemed an absolute theological must.
‘How can God be approached without confession?! How very dare you!’
And so we’re press-ganged into searching around for some sin or other.
But when I meet my friend Jack for lunch, I don’t feel the need for him to apologise first.
‘I look forward to lunch with you, Jack, I’m having the fish-finger sandwich – but first, you must apologise to me for those areas you have fallen short in your relationship with me. In your own time…’
We don’t do it. We don’t need to. We’d call such a demand ‘twisted’. Acceptance is the gateway to relationship. Not apology.
We don’t treat friends in that way. So why the command to treat God in this way, who we are told is also our friend? Acceptance is the gateway to relationship. Not apology.
I have apologised to God, on occasion.
Just as God has apologised to me.
Things happen along the way; it’s an occasional option for us both.
But it isn’t where we start. As God said to Julian of Norwich, ‘Between you and me, there is no in-between.’
So really, what’s the confession doing? Apart from promoting self-hate, making a twisted soul of God and sucking buckets of joy from this adventure on earth?