Clergy Confessional (67) – Admit what you are

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Bill Cosby is trying to get a judge to recuse himself from sentencing him, and Mr. Cosby’s wife is saying that Bill didn’t get a fair trial. Some members of the Catholic hierarchy are running scared because of the role they played in the systemic rape of children, trying to hide behind the church for protection. A myriad of media producers, personalities, and actors have lost their jobs because they tried to use their power to take advantage of men and women just trying to make a living. Politicians have done the same, but somehow they get to keep their jobs. Just stop it – admit what you are. Stop using loopholes and excuses. Stop saying you didn’t know it was wrong. Stop playing word games. You know what you are – so just admit it.

It is one of the adages that still works – confession is good for the soul. So is contrition. So is forgiveness. But before you can get to the third, you need to go through the first two. So admit it. Admit that you used drugs to rape people. Admit that you allowed sick individuals to move from church to church, leaving a path a broken and abused innocents along the way. Admit that you think you can use people like property, and then toss them away or pay them off. 

Human beings are capable of great kindness and love, as well as great evil and depravity. Culturally, we often give people a pass when they do the wrong thing – as long as they entertain us or throw touchdowns, that is. We excuse domestic violence but condemn kneeling during the national anthem. We elect philanderers but condemn people who want to commit to each other through same-sex marriage. We don’t seem to have our priorities in order -and we don’t seem to care. Let’s admit it – America is conflicted, confused, and, to be honest, pretty sick, and we need to seek change, renewal, and health.

Let’s look carefully at ourselves before we start making judgments. Jesus never said we could never judge – what He said was that each person needs to take the log out of their own eye before they assist someone with the speck in theirs. As a nation, we have put up with abuse of all kinds for too long – let’s admit that, and then let’s take some time to fix our soul as a nation. Let’s feed people who have no food and house people with no homes, and let’s stop giving the 1% more. Let’s fund our schools equally and well, and let’s produce less weapons of mass destruction. Let’s admit that we prefer incarceration to education, and turn that around. Let’s stop listening to climate change deniers and do something about how we are using the earth as a toilet. It isn’t too late to admit what we are, and it isn’t too late to change. 

Steve Ohnsman has been the pastor of Calvary UCC in Reading, PA since 1999. He has a BA in Religion & Philosophy from Wilmington College (OH), an MDiv from Drew Theological Seminary (NJ), a DMin in Christian Ethics from United Theological Seminary (OH), and a PhD in Leadership from Alvernia University (PA).

Author: Pastor Steve Ohnsman