Old Stuff – Confessing Corporate Sin

January 5, 2009 — Leave a comment

Here’s number two in the Old Stuff:

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Here is Round #2 with respect to some theological/church wanderings of my mind…

Recently, Nehemiah 1 has been the source of some intense thought for me, and although I haven’t developed the thought to its end, I thought I would share where God has been leading me. The primary challenge for me has been “what does it look like to be a man who confesses the sins of a generation or a people?” I have pretty much been utterly wrecked by this revelation of my own part in corporate sin and corporate identity through Nehemiah’s prayer on behalf of Israel.

Are we willing as a church to accept the sins of our parents and grandparents generation, rather than looking back at them in knee-jerk fashion and saying “we won’t be like them”?  By and large the response of our generation has been reactionary in nature, but I see something utterly different in Nehemiah’s prayer, and I hope begins to saturate my life.  This idea I think is the essence of headship, which is a thought I need to develop more at length sometime soon.

A corrollary to this concept of corporate confession for me has been understanding that part of the churches job is the redefinition and redemption of not just individuality, but of corporate identity. In my mind, this influences how we as a church are responsible for healing and recreating the utterly destroyed social fabric of American culture. This was really born out of a conversation with Stew over church planting, and how to make the things we learn from the rapid spread of the Gospel in Africa, India, and China applicable to the US. The common vehicle for the spread of the Gospel in those places was a strong social fabric originating with the family, which is fairly non-existent in our fluid, anti-commitment society. This thought also takes an interesting turn when thinking strategically about the spreading of the Gospel in the US, and where these social fabrics currently exist.

Ironically enough, the only place I could think of was that of where strong social networks are already in place was a college campus, and it made me exceedingly excited to be in the position of leading college ministry.  I pray that students at UT and other campuses here in Austin would be a generation who seeks God’s face, and accepts the sins of not only themselves, but also the preceding generation, and like Nehemiah does amazing things in advancing the Kingdom of God.  I pray they would have the desire for long, enduring obedience and God would give them visions for establishing patterns of righteousness for the generations following them.

Todd Engstrom

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Although I was raised in the church and had a knowledge of God, I didn’t embrace Jesus until I heard gospel preached and lived out by some Young Life leaders. God has proven faithful and good to me since that day, even in great suffering and loss. I have learned to treasure Romans 8:28 as a wellspring of hope and truth. God has blessed me with an amazing wife (Olivia), three sons (Micah, Hudson and Owen) and a daughter (Emmaline). Growing up in the northwest, the thought never crossed my mind that I would have four children who are native Texans. Despite landing in the south, I still watch Notre Dame games with my children every Saturday in hopes they will land at my alma mater.

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