We finish our look at the ancient practice of confession with the practical how-to's of making a confession. In this lesson I lay out six steps to making a thorough, fearless inventory of our souls, helping us develop the self-awareness necessary for a healthy soul. The first several weeks of this lesson were necessary context and environment-making to be able to do this, but now that we're here, I hope you see how this will benefit your spiritual life.
On how to receive a confession. Before we can talk about the self-awareness required of making a confession, we need to understand the context in which we'll be making that confession. Trust, confidentiality, encouragement, and the affirmation of our basic Christian beliefs that we are not defined by our sin... these are critical elements required for a confessorial community. In today's lesson, we talk about creating just that environment.
e human beings are in a protracted struggle with existential shame, but we have tool to combat that: confession. This week I want to share with you the practicalities of making and receiving a confession. Lest you think this is going to be a magic bullet process that makes everything better instantly, the process is more "agricultural", preparing and fertilizing the soil of our souls. Practicing these techniques will help lead us into a "confessorial" lifestyle.
We continue our introduction to the ancient practice of confession; rooted in the ancient virtue of humility. (Next week we'll get to the practical how-to's.) We human beings are in a protracted struggle with existential shame, and before we even get to the issue we confess, the very act of revealing our weakness deals a blow to the control shame has in our souls. But if we don't address our framing worldview (mostly inherited from the Greeks), we'll never prevail in this struggle.
For those present on Sunday, I didn’t use the word “confession” until the last few sentences of the lesson. We have such a limited, skewed, and religiously ritualized idea of what it means, I wanted to tell a story first. I told the community about one of my own recent confessions, and how it opened […]
We conclude this application of the ancient virtue of humility by thinking about God in a way that has less potential to bore us. As we've said, as soon as we reduce the un-reducible God to an image in our minds, we inevitably create a God that is not worthy of our life, our pursuits. One of the casualties of lost humility is lost wonder and awe. Let's not do that, shall we?
Continuing from last week... Humility is a precursor to awe and wonder which in turn, awaken us to a God too big to be reduced into a mental construct. This, it turns out, is a recipe for a religion that inspires us, surprises us, and draws us into the Way, Truth, and Life. This is Jesus' god. It can be ours too.
Humility, it turns out, is a precursor to awe and wonder. Awe and wonder, it turns out, awakens us to a God too big to be reduced into a mental construct. This, it turns out, is a recipe for a religion that inspires us, surprises us, and draws us into the Way, Truth, and Life. This is Jesus' god. It can be ours too.
The word "humility" comes from the Latin word "humus," which means "dirt," or "earth." To be humble is to be connected to the earth; to our earthiness and creatureliness. Absent this, we end up carrying a load we cannot carry; it all! Rather than expanding our world, this ends up reducing it and boring us. A Christianity lived un-humbly is boring. And you don't want that, do you?
If our souls were gardens, we just finished a lesson on weeding them. Today we turn to a lesson on fertilizing them. How do we nurture the true-self? I hesitate to use the word "humility" (as you'll hear), because of how it militates against our American sensibilities. However, when we think about what the ancient virtue means, we realize that we really do want what this virtue affords us.