Saturday, September 22, 2007

Confessional Boxes are Inevitable

I heard Leonard Sweet comment on how prophetic U2's ZOO TV tour was.
One area he mentioned was that on a tour that made heavy use of irony (even in its PR inteviews. Tom Brokaw: "Yeah, but doesn't (all those TV screens) kill intimacy?"
Bono: "Yeah, but you look great!").. really did the midst of the bombast overload, sunglasses to hide behind, and manic video projections (see "The media is the antichrist", "Life imitates art imitates life: Fly shades", "Postmodern phone call from hell" )...break down barriers between performer and audience (read pastor/priest and congregation...and even became sacramental in its vicarious confession.

To make the confession element "obvious" there was for awhile an actual video confessional in the lobby of concert halls, where fans could confess their sins, and the clips were shown to the whole crowd before the encore.

Sweet mentioned the runway used in some parts of the concert where the band was literally among the people as a prophetic act and message to pastors...But how about putting the confessional in the narthex.

Like everything else video nowadays, an actual clip of some of the Zoo TV confessions is on YouTube ("You Confess"), and offered below. A heads up/warning...this is real and what else could it be but rated R.

A few years later, Bono sang "talk shows (are) confession."
Fifteen years later, is that ever true. Zoo TV has become reality.

Or reality TV.

Or this:

In January 1991, I was living in Chicago doing my last seminary internship a few blocks from Oprah's studio. The topic that day...with a ton of seminarians in the audience was "Guys who sleep with two girls."

Could it be that most folks are ready to confess and or/offer themselves voyeuristically at the drop of a hat?

Public confession of sin has long been a hot topic in the church..what would an emerging version look like?

Reminds me of Donald Miller's story here:
Lotsa Naked People & The Campus Confessional

The Wall Street Journal just published:
Confession Makes a Comeback

If you push confession out of church or culture, the other will inevitably rise up and meet the need.


  1. Good to see you got some Peter Gabriel tied in with this. I have to "confess", many of the so-called confessions in the U2 box don't seem serious or convincing. So, is voyeurism a sin? I sort of think so---the aim is usually to compare our own lives to those we're watching, a form of either envy, pride, or covetousness???

  2. Yes, anonymoius sunburnt one...i had taht thought on watching. Yet i wonder, too...were some of the "kidding" confessions pretty serious at heart.

    Church seems to endorse the aim of voyeurism as you have defined it!

  3. As far as confession goes, definitely biblical. Confess to one another. When God is involved, a healthy thing, where we receive encouragement and support from brothers/sisters. The worldly version is to "brag" about your bad sins, with an impish smirk, because deep down you may not really be sorry you did it at all. Also, it seems that anonymous confession would be somewhat worthless. The focus is all on you. Nobody can hold you accountable. At least any form of serious confession starts the process of self-examination and at least acknowledging sin. OK, everybody turn to your neighbor and tell them the worst thing you ever did....LOL


Hey, thanks for engaging the conversation!