Confession gone public

My first encounter with confession didn't come with my conversion to Catholicism. It came back in my freshman year of high school.

I should be clear that I'm not referring to the Sacrament of Reconciliation (that was 2009), or those moments when you lie in bed telling God sorry for whatever wrong you did that day. No, this is the public kind of confession, when you have to tell your wrongdoings in front of an entire church.

Not fun? Nooooooo, not in the slightest bit. But since this is the most awkward religious experience I've ever had, I thought I'd write about it 12 years later.

On Sunday nights, all the kids at the First Baptist Church youth group would get together at our youth pastor's house. Just for hanging out. Some kids stayed inside eating and watching a movie. Others played in the yard, which is what myself and four friends, two in 9th grade like myself, another in 10th grade and one in 5th grade, were doing.

It got dark outside, and we were still in the yard. My 10th-grade friend, whom we will call Cain in this instance, decided to moon one of the passing cars, unbeknownst to all of us. After said dropping of drawers and flashing of butt cheeks took place, someone drove by that we vaguely knew. Jokingly, Cain asks the car if they wanted a free kid to take to Pizza Hut. Dismissing the request as ridiculous (I'm assuming), they drove away.

The night wrapped up, and we went about our separate ways. Later in the week, however, the shit hit the fan. Apparently whoever got mooned decided to alert our church, as did the person that was offered the kid to take to Pizza Hut.

My 9th-grade friend, whom we'll call Abel (the other 9th grade friend was useless, so he doesn't get a name), and I had no idea that the mooning took place, and didn't realize that Cain had offered the fifth-grader to the passing car until a few minutes afterwards.  What were we supposed to do, run inside and tattle immediately? Not sure what good that would have done.

But regardless, we got blamed for it too, and had to skip Sunday School to go sit in our youth pastor's office (whom we'll call Harvey) and listen to him tell us how we embarrassed the church, and that we owe everyone an apology. Harvey sure laid a guilt trip on all of us, rightfully or wrongfully, and we were convinced that apologizing is what we had to do, and even if we didn't take part in Cain's actions, the fact that we were there made us guilty of embarrassing Waldron FBC (which, I should add, is a fine institution filled with amazing people).

Or did we? My mom and Abel's parents were strongly against us going up to apologize, stating that we had no idea what happened and weren't responsible for Cain's actions. But for some reason, we as teenagers didn't listen to our parents (shocking). Our line of thinking apparently was that whatever our youth pastor said was church law, and that we should support our friends.

Thankfully, the second part of our punishment didn't happen. In addition to apologizing in front of the church, Harvey and our pastor were going to make us sign an apology to appear in the newspaper that week.

Sunday night rolled around, and right before the final goodbyes, the four of us (the fifth-grader didn't have to apologize, even though he was a part of our little group) went to the front, and stood in front of 100 people or so while the pastor praised us for taking responsibility for embarrassing the church while my grandparents in attendance were surely weeping. We didn't feel fantastic about the whole thing, like we got some sort of guilt off our chest, but felt relieved that the thing was over.

Looking back, I call B.S. on the whole thing. If the 27-year-old brain of dustin got put into my 15-year-old self, I would have listened to my parents, defied Harvey and probably
start going to the Church of the Nazarene.

One of my parent's friends during the whole schtick said to them, "Imagine if we all had to go up front and apologize for all the wrong things we did." That's why I call B.S., because I never saw anyone else go to the front of the church to apologize for any wrong doing. Call it a hunch, but I'm pretty sure we weren't the only ones who embarrassed the church for sinning publicly.

If we follow our church leaders logic on this whole thing, then every week we should have seen someone new coming up front to confess their wrong-doings. But 12 years later, I think the four of us were the only ones who have done that.

Looking back, I think the only reason we had to go up is that it embarrassed Harvey personally. If that's the case, then that's fine. But call a spade a spade and say that you want us to apologize for embarrassing you, not because the church apparently has a new public confession belief.

Thank God I now have the ability to go to confession in private. If I had to get up in front of St. Theresa in New Cumberland each week to reveal my sins, I think I'd end up reviling myself a lot more than I should. And thank God that Waldron FBC has cooler heads in charge that haven't put anyone through that embarrassment that we went through that Sunday night.


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    About This Blog

    A blog for the masses, if by masses you mean myself and family members who probably read this out of pity.

    I'm dustin Faber, the 16-bit Catholic. This blog is an amusing, sometimes thought-provoking look at my life and the world around me. Poetry, cooking recipes, gaming, faith, things that make me go awww, things that make me go grrr, and my obsession with a good glass of root beer can be found here.

    If you're looking for gaming-centered posts, check out catholicvideogamers.blogspot.com. If you seek the blog I keep with my fiance, check out thecatholiclovebirds.blogspot.com

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