Books & Culture brought an interesting book review of “The Art of Public Grovel“:

Confession Run Amok – How to look like you’re taking responsibility while you’re actually asking for sympathy

“The confession of sin and the confession of faith have always been interrelated in Christianity, with sin typically being confessed in private and faith in public. That relationship is exactly backwards today. The confession of sin has become increasingly publicized and the confession of faith increasingly privatized. Confessing your faith, as President Bush famously did in a televised debate, can lower your public status, while confessing your sin, as President Clinton demonstrated, can raise your ratings. Let’s all admit it: our culture is hyperconfessionalized.

“The trick to a successful confession, according to Susan Wise Bauer’s very entertaining book, is to look like you are taking responsibility while you are actually asking for sympathy. In other words, start off confessing your sin but end up showing how you have actually been sinned against.

“Bauer’s book, however, is more than a seminar in how to cringe with dignity. It is a lesson in how religious rituals, no matter how old they are, never die—they just leave the sacred and enter the profane.

Read the rest – including a historical overview of how confessions changed over time.

I found it highly interesting and informative. I wish I had the time to reflect and write on it but I need to get back to my own writing. My deadline is on Friday. 🙁