Gospel & Culture blog
In preparation for Pope Francis' historic visit to Ireland, one group converted a car wash into a drive- through confessional. While many Irish seem to understand the temporary confessional as a form of pop-up art, drivers have lined up to get a glimpse inside, and maybe even to silently confess their sins while driving through.
On NPR's "The World" the creator of the exhibit said he was just trying to help Irish people be self-critical about their own hypocrisy-- Irish are far less religiously committed than they used to be, but are still enthusiastic about the pope's visit: There is truth in the sarcasm of the "modern day confessional:" Why do we feel like we need to clean ourselves up when a religious leader visits, when it is more important to clean ourselves up for our own sake? We should repent from our sin because it's wrong, and because it breaks our relationship with God (1 John 1:5)-- not just to impress the pope or anyone around us.
The fact that the drive-through confessional is actually a car wash actually contains some unintended metaphors: All that cleansing and washing away of filth, for instance. And consider that our cars are emblematic of our contemporary sinful attitudes, such as
consumerism, unfettered individuality, demand for immediacy, and obsession with status.
In a way, this reminds me of the Vegas drive-through wedding chapels which make a mockery of the marriage vows, but which also point to the way American sinfulness (epitomized in Vegas) has cheapened marriage. ON a more serious note, Schuller started Crystal Cathedral as a drive-in church, and some drive-in churches exist today, including one in Daytona Beach.
What similar forms of pop-up art could cause us to be self-reflective of our hypocrisy? We already have self-serve communion and the ability to text-message our offerings during church services.
© 2015 Kenneth Nehrbass. All Rights Reserved.
Kenneth Nehrbass, Ph.D.
Associate Professor at Biola University, Author, Pastor