catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 5, Num 15 :: 2006.07.28 — 2006.09.08


Something to say

In her book Girl Meets God, author Lauren Winner mentions having a confessor.  This was the first time it occurred to me that believers outside of the Catholic tradition have confessors and I must admit that I'm attracted to the idea for some reason. I'm remembering this detail of the book anew, as putting together this issue of catapult has provoked consideration of the nature of confession.

In attending a Lutheran church for the past three and a half years, I've come to associate confession with a communal admission of sin, usually at the beginning of the worship service, with the subsequent elements of gathering intended to heal our hearts and re-center our spirits.  Growing up, the sense in which I most often heard the word "confession" used was related to a confession of faith, which is much different from confession of sin—or perhaps not.  Confession strikes me as acknowledging whatever it is that occupies the space of God in our lives, in part or in totality.  A confession of faith, in which we speak the rightful place of God, as opposed to a list of things that are, seems to be a list of what we desire to be, since I don't believe any of us can ever be entirely free of idolatry.

This issue gives me the opportunity to reflect on catapult as a medium for online confession, both through articles written by others and through my own editorials, which one reader described a while ago as having a "confessional quality."  Confessing our idolatries on the Internet is both frightening and freeing.  We put our deepest fears and addictions and insecurities out for the whole world to see—but we put them out for a whole world of strangers, mostly.  It's a bit like walking up to a mic in a room of a million blank faces, people who may or may not recognize us, may or may not come up to us afterwards and judge or affirm our admissions.  It's easier, I think than personally confronting the individual or individuals we've wronged.  But that relative ease is not without trepidation and it doesn't negate the beneficial, community-building potential of such public, unstructured confession.

Unfortunately, it can be the nature of online interaction to diminish our ability to connect in truly meaningful ways.  In doing a search for "confession" on Google, I landed at, where folks of varying levels of piety confess all sorts of "sins", from not wearing any underwear to church (too lazy to do laundry) to drugging a female rival out of competition for a man.  After a confession is posted, commenters are free to speculate whether the sinner is a complete idiot or only human.  Perhaps even more disturbing than certain confessions and comments is the fact that the site apparently makes money off of advertising for such things as the newest Victoria's Secret push-up bra (an ad which may have inspired a few confessions itself).  Also, a read-through of the legal disclaimer reveals that:

  • Use of this web site is for entertainment purposes only.
  • All submissions become the property of

I like to think that catapult promotes a healthier environment for confession than this.  "Entertainment purposes," while valid in their own right, are secondary here to Love's purposes, which more often involve the pain of transformation rather than the sedatives of pleasure or catharsis.  Additionally, we hope we're fostering an environment in which stories of brokenness are shared for the restoration of right relationship.  Every part of the process—the conceptualizing, the writing, the publishing, the responding—can be an agent of this desired restoration.  Some writers associate their names and contact information with deep confessions and form tangible community around the responses they receive from people who connect with their unique story, while others who cannot identify themselves send out a prayer that someone will recognize him or herself as a "name withheld."

Whatever the case, I hope that what we publish here provides writers and readers both with freedom from the isolation of silent guilt and encouragement for seeking wholeness in the arms of the Unnamable God, who is often present to us through the embrace of others.  So please, read this issue with compassion.  Look for yourself: who you've been, who you are or who you may become.  Share your story in spite of shame, for in the penetrating light of the One who is all-knowing, we are yet loved and yet invited to a place at the magnificent table.

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