I went to the site (www.christiansconfess.com) that Glenn suggested and it’s fascinating reading. It reminds me of several other public yet anonymous opportunities for apology.
There’s www.postsecret.com, where you can send a postcard with your biggest secret on it and an image of it might be posted on the blog. People create their own postcards and make a work of art out of it. For example, one postcard I saw yesterday showed an ultrasound image of a developing fetus, and the creator had written “Yesterday, I found out that I can never have children of my own.” Another shows a view from a car on the open road, and it says, “When you died, my life found its direction.”
Not long after 9/11, there was a phone line where you could call and leave a message with an anonymous confession of anything you had never admitted to anyone. NPR did a segment on it, and played some of the messages that had been left. People admitted they didn’t love their spouses, that they had cheated on tests or stolen things when they were kids, and one admitted that he killed his younger brother when he was very young himself.
Who knows how much of this is fake and how much of it is real? I’m sure people lie on these things just as they lie in other places. But I’ll bet the majority of it is real. There is such a relief to be had in confession, and it’s such a common need that it seems to transcend religious boundaries. The Catholics have instutitionalized it, God bless ’em, but there are many cultures with some kind of confession in their religion. The Aztecs had a goddess called Filth Eater, to whom you confessed your sins. I’m sure there are others, but I didn’t sleep well last night, so I’ll update this later. 🙂