This morning a call from Pops Reddick woke me up way too early. It seems the Right Reverend Pops Reddick has been tagged to give the key note address at some conference or another, and he wanted me to critique his sermon.
And I listened despite the earliness of the hour. I have finally come to the age when I can admit that my dad is actually a very interesting individual. He is like the mad scientist of the theological community. Currently, he is consumed by his own pseudo science which he calls theosophy, a marriage of theology and philosophy.
But anyway, the conversation turned toward church liturgy for some reason or another, and I informed him that I thought the most powerful part of any church service was the culminating altar call or Mourners’ Bench. So, Pops Reddick proceeded to inform me of the psychology undergirding the Mourners’ Bench. And it’s not all about securing one’s place in heaven.
Sitting on the Mourners’ Bench is tantamount to a public confession. And according to Michel Foucault, the public confession accomplishes two things: the public confession establishes guilt and recognizes power. In the instance of the Mourners’ Bench you confess that you are nothing more than a dirty low down sinner and you recognize and give yourself over to the omnipotency of a higher power.
Please stick with me. I am hurrying toward my main point, but first I just had to establish a few things.
Pops Reddick broke it down further in secular terms. At that moment, you must do a bit of soul-searching (excuse the pun). You must weigh yourself. You must decide just who and what you are and where you stand and just who and what you are and where you wish to be.
And the public spectacle is required so that others might bear witness to your moment of transformation and provide you support as well as hold you accountable.
Let me simplify this for the Facebook and Twitter crowd. It’s just like setting up your spiritual profile. Except you have to be really, really honest or your friends and/or followers might call you out.
So, I’ve been contemplating the knowledge Pops Reddick bestowed upon me. And as I enter middle age, I am trying to get a firm grasp on just who or what I am and where I wish to be. In doing so I realize that I have not achieved many of the goals I set for myself so long ago. I realize I am nowhere near where I wish to be personally or professionally. And I need some spiritual help as well.
And I am returning to the Mourners’ Bench to publically confess my shortcomings, to say publically that at this time in my life, I am not yet who or what I wish to be and additionally, recognize my power to be able to change that. I am the only one person with any real bearing on my future, on my success, and I will not give that power over to others by blaming them for my own personal shortcomings and failures.
The door to the realization of my aims and dreams is right in front of me and all I must do is to compel myself to move forward and reach for the door handle, and once I enter, leave the door slightly ajar for those coming behind me.
And I am confessing it here so that you might bear witness to my confession and provide me support as well as hold me accountable.
Do you need to return to the Mourners’ Bench? Have you taken account lately? Do you really know who and what you are and where you are heading personally and professionally? The doors of the church are open.