Have you ever struggled with the idea of corporate reconciliation? Have you ever met someone who has?
For example, last year at Annual Conference we, as a group, worked through understanding and reconciling with the treatment of Native Americans in our past. Have you ever met someone who has said or thought, "I haven't mistreated Native Americans? Why do I have to apologize and reconcile?"
I think there are several reasons for the confession of corporate and community sin, but as I was reading Rising Strong, I found another one.
Yesterday, I wrote about nostalgia. In the same chapter, Brown explores the idea of how our memories are often "rose-colored." We see things as we think they were. A person who was a child in the 50's might not remember the way African Americans were treated at the time in our country. Exposing that to them is painful to them. It threatens the wonderful memories they have of how life was then.
And yet, if we do not dig to discover the truth in our memories, or the truth of what we didn't know then, we are much less likely to work toward fixing the issues in the present. Stephanie Coontz explains in Brown's book that those who have never cross examined their fond memories of the 50's (memories that exclude the civil rights abuses at the time), "were the ones most hostile to the civil rights and women's movements, which they saw as destroying their harmonious world they remembered."
Those who struggled through their memories became more adaptable to change. Think of that. Those who examined and reconciled with the abuses of the past were more able to adapt to the future and correct or prevent the same kinds of issues from happening again.
What implications does that have for life in the church? For life in society? For how we approach confession and forgiveness?