Christian History as Confession

I’m pleased to share my contribution to “A Symposium on Teaching Virtue: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Pedagogy, Liturgy, and Moral Formation,” recently published in the International Journal of Christianity & Education.[1] 

What We Have Done and What We Have Left Undone: Christian History as Confession
by Paul Gutacker

At the midpoint of the Eucharistic liturgical rite, there comes a moment when the congregation is called to remember. We are invited to kneel, to silently consider our pasts, and then to give voice to “what we have done and what we have left undone.” (Book of Common Prayer, 1979: 331)As a turning point in the liturgy, and, indeed, a biblically-mandated discipline, confession is foundational for the spirituality of each Christian believer and the life of the church. Perhaps this liturgical act, in some sense, is also emblematic for all Christian reflection on the past. As the liturgical moment of remembrance, confession informs how and why we attend to history. How might liturgical confession serve as a model for our historical pedagogy? In this essay, I suggest that three aspects of confession – its posture, its understanding of knowledge, and its ends – ought to inform how and why we teach history. Together, these show that the liturgical act of confession offers a fruitful framing metaphor for the historical classroom.

To continue reading, download the article here. Be sure to check out the whole symposium, which includes excellent reflections on teaching from Elizabeth Travers Parker, Cody Strecker, and Nicholas Krause. Those with access to SAGE journals can read the entire symposium here.


[1] Excerpted from: Paul Gutacker, Elizabeth Travers Parker, Cody Strecker, and Nicholas Krause, “A symposium on teaching virtue: Interdisciplinary perspectives on pedagogy, liturgy, and moral formation,” International Journal of Christianity & Education 0(0) 1–27. ©The Author(s) 2019. DOI:10.1177/2056997119826128. Published here under the permissions granted by the SAGE’s Archiving and Sharing Policy: https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/journal-author-archiving-policies-and-re-use.