$564,516.13. When placed alongside Pastor Brad’s bucket list, that amount of cash would allow him to buy any one of twenty-eight Gold Coast condominiums, fifteen 2016 Chevy Camaro convertibles, or an untold number of Five Finger shoes.
This number represents the cost of a twenty-game suspension for an NHL player named Dennis Wideman. Wideman cross-checked a referee on his way to the bench claiming, of course, that it was an accident. One look at the instant replay was enough for the broadcasters to disagree and, in due time, enough for the league to suspend him without pay.
Dennis Wideman is not the first to hold personal responsibility at arm’s length; we live in a society where people have successfully sued McDonald’s for serving hot coffee, Philip Morris for selling tobacco, and the Mormon Church for failing to procure the “real” Jesus. In other words, we live in a society where personal responsibility is not what it used to be.
Imagine people’s surprise, then, when Don Miller and his friends set up a confession booth on a college campus not intending to TAKE confessions, but to OFFER them. Imagine people’s surprise when Miller and his friends accepted responsibility not only for their own actions, but for everyone whose actions have given Jesus a “bad name.” (Read Blue Like Jazz chapter 11.)
Miller says that in confessing not only for himself, but also for his fellow Christians, he felt “free.” That’s the thing about confession…it frees us. As you read Blue Like Jazz this week…and as you reflect on taking responsibility (e.g. the confession booth) or the freedom of sharing (confessing) one’s faith, keep this question in mind:
What song is your soul singing about confession?