The other day, I was surfing the TV and landed on VH1, where they were actually doing a video countdown (I hadn't seen VH1 or MTV do videos in forever). The video was by The All-American Rejects for their song, "Dirty Little Secrets." The video showed post-cards that people had created, which disclosed various kinds of secrets, some profoundly broken, others awfully superficial.
When I got to the seminary today, a colleague was telling me about an article that he read on his way back from California about this website, PostSecret.com. When I went to the website, I found the same type of thing--and apparently, the song was inspired by this website. The simple premise of the website is this: people share their deep secrets by creating postcards as a type of art, but also as a means of finding healing and hope. The website is tied in with the Hope Line, a 800 number that helps people struggling with suicidal feelings. According to the count meter, over 25 million people have vist the PostSecret website.
I had several reactions to all this. First, I was so thankful that somewhere, in God's common grace, people are feeling free to reveal some of their brokenness so that they can finding help, hope, and healing.
Another thought I had was this: if you were to allow church members to do this, creating postcards about their "dirty little secrets" and sending them to a place where they can maintain their anonymity, what kinds of issues would be revealed? I suspect that the brokenness displayed on the website would not be that radically different from what one would discover in the church.
Which raises another question--how in the world do ministers and counselors surface these issues so that the healing of God's grace in the Gospel might come to bear on people's secrets? For all our talk about authenicity, I wonder if we could really handle some of these issues; it would simply be overwhelming for human beings. And yet, it would not be overwhelming for God--so how do we get people together with God in such a way that they might know God's grace?
This leads to another thought: why do most of our churches preach and minister in such a way that these issues are never surfaced? Why does most preaching fail to address our dark emotions, our dirty secrets? Why do our illustrations of "sin" and "brokenness" always seem so lame and unreal (cheating on income taxes; driving faster than speed limit; etc. Please. These are peccadillos, not the sins with which most people really wrestle). Why do most of our people feel utterly unsafe to bring these secrets to the light? How does that change?
Finally, how in the world has the church utterly missed this phenomenon? I read a number of blogs and websites, as well as regular news outlets, and I had never heard of this, until I saw the AAR video. What other major cultural phenomenons are we missing where people are expressing their deepest heart issues and the church is simply ignorant?