Monday, August 15, 2011

Could Christianity use a year (or decade) of repentance?

Lent personified at a Carnival celebration. De...Image via WikipediaYou may be wondering if the title is prelude to bashing Christianity. It isn't my intent but take it as you will. How else could you possibly take it?

I am thinking of how often the worst of what is associated with religion has become associated with Christianity, especially in the United States. And I am wondering. Should there be a themed period of reflection, kind of like Lent but writ large and encompassing an entire year, or even better, an entire decade?

I am not sure how many communions or denominations or individual congregations would sign on for this kind of thing, but at least one major organization, a denomination or large religious order like the Benedictines, would have to visibly and vocally commit to it.

So what do you think? Would a period of public (but not touted or flashy, not of the tent revival variety) and solemn penance revolving around exclusion, intolerance, failure to act on behalf of the poor, the vulnerable and unwanted, and similar shortcomings be a good idea?

It could be something at the beginning or end of service, a separate service, communal and private devotions and acts of contrition and charity. There are many possibilities with the basic theme of "We've screwed up, we've let you down, and we're truly sorry."
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  1. The churches which don't really need it would join in gladly. The churches that do need it, would not only refuse to do it, but would consider it evidence of their own rightness that they refuse. Sigh.

  2. I really think every church could use it, and many people need to hear it anyway. I mean, if you had a bunch of selfish jerks and criminals as part of your well-known family, I do think apologizing for your family's behavior would be meaningful to those hurt by it even if many of the culprits were unrepentant. Besides, if it got going those who refused to join in would look even more like arrogant, hypocritical schmucks.


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