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Our Apologies – Sarnia Downtown First Friday Exhibit

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Our ApologiesWe’ve been wanting to get involved with the First Friday events downtown for quite a while now. First Friday is a downtown walk-a-bout of art exhibits and installations, music performances and video showings. theStory’s space for the most part has been silent for this time. This past First Friday for January 2010 we finally organized our first exhibit. The idea was inspired by Donald Miller’s story in Blue Like Jazz where the church confessed it’s sins in a confession booth instead of the normal order of things.

As people came in they could go into the confession booth and we had a few people from our church community who acted as the priest who recited our confession to them. They could then write their feelings about the confession on the wall (we got a wall of whiteboard wall paper), grab a snack and sit around and chat.

There was a few people who had some different reactions to it. Some didn’t understand why we would take responsibility for things we had no direct hand in. Others were thankful that we were clearing the air and acknowledging what is usually kept silent and shoved under the carpet. Some people were inspired, and others were pissed off. You can see a full version of the wall so you can zoom in and read what some people wrote. Below are some pictures and the confession that was recited.

Our Apologies

Our Apologies

Our Apologies

Our Apologies

Forgive us, friend: It’s been forever since our last confession.

Where to start? We’ve really come off as self-righteous fools, haven’t we? Good intentions or not, we’ve made mistakes and we want to clear the air.

About the Crusades, we’re sorry. ‘Holy War’ is a contradiction in terms. And over 200 years of fighting is an absolute disgrace.

In memory of those who we murdered, burned at the stake and excommunicated because we disagreed with or disapproved of their ideas or ideology, we are sorry. We let ideas in our head become more important than people, the irony haunts us.

In regards to the televangelists, fundamentalists, self-help salesmen, prosperity preachers and all ’round religious nuts who have claimed to come in the name of Jesus – we apologize. This clearly is not our best foot forward.

To the gays, lesbians and trans-gendered: We have confused human rights and faith. We’ve unlovingly forced our convictions onto your freedom. Words cannot describe how ashamed we are.

To the Aboriginal people of Canada: We are guilty of remaining silent during your greatest times of need. Please forgive us.
To the children abused by church leaders whom they should have been able to trust: We are deeply grieved by this travesty. Please know that God weeps with you. Forgive us.

To the poor: We apologize for being so distracted and consumed with our own security and comfort that we’ve often ignored your cries for help. We’re also sorry that we’ve categorized you as charity cases and not valued you as humans.

To those have been fighting for the planet: At best we’ve been shamefully absent, and at our worst we’ve even been the antagonists. One of God’s very first instructions to us was to take care of the earth. We should know better. We are truly sorry.

We are sorry for coming off as elitists.

We are sorry for our unloving protests.

We are sorry for reducing sacred art and music to bumper-stickers and hollow jingles.

We are sorry for all the guilting, shaming and scare tactics.

We are sorry for not being the church that Jesus set us out to be.

Our sincerest apologies.

We are so sorry.

One Comment

  • I’ve thought more than once about Miller’s ‘confessional’, but never really stopped to figure out what I might say.

    This is awesome, simply awesome.

    In the spirit of the post, I apologize now for reposting this on my own blog (with appropriate link and credit).

    I admire your courage to stand up and say what we should all be saying and living. Thank you.

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