Skip to content

Confessional (The Chicken Side)


I must be the only person, aside from my catechism cohorts of the late 1970’s, who calls the Catholic confessional room where you get to slide the little door and not look the priest in the eyes when you confess your sins the Chicken Confessional. At our church, you could choose to slide the door and talk through it, or sit in the same tiny room with the priest. According my mom, same room was better, and it was what she did. I googled chicken confessional and nothing came up aside from Chicken Soup for the Soul: Living Catholic Faith. I have this problem with the internet though:  I expect it to pull all knowledge, as if it’s a version of my own brain with a way better system for cataloguing data. I expect to be able to ask Google, “What was the name of that substitute teacher I hated in junior high?” or “Who were my catechism cohorts of 1978, Los Osos, California?” Google can only do so much, and it can’t read my mind, unfortunately. When we were preparing for our First Communion, which requires first confession also, the big question was, are you going to be a chicken and use the chicken confessional? The answer, at least for me, was Hell Ya, because Father Spitzen is creepy and he spits when he talks, and Father Sweeney has bad breath. Forgive me Fathers for I have sinned. But you’re probably both dead by now anyway.

I didn’t have much to confess that first time. I mean, heck, I was 7-years old. Are we all sinners from birth, according to the Catholics? Here’s me on my first confession: 

Father Sweeney: Yes, my child.

Me: Um, Um, Um.. I, I, I….

Father Sweeney: Yeeeeeeees?  (Translation: there are a lot of kids behind you in line Brocker, hurry up.)

Me: I fought with my brothers. I stole a piece of my brother’s Easter candy. Um, that’s it.

Father Sweeney: Do 10 Hail Mary’s and 10 Our Fathers.  Now let’s hear your Act of Contrition.

You know, looking back, I really don’t feel that the punishment fit the crime. I mean, didn’t Father know my brothers? They used to hold me down and fart on me. What would Father Sweeney do in that case? What’s the penance for that?

Today’s chicken confessional would go like this:  Bless me Father for I have sinned, It’s been 30 years since my last confession (damn I’m old). I’ve got a lot of new things to confess, but I can’t shake the fact that it’s none of your business Father. Sorry I ditched you and stopped believing in religion entirely, but those Catholics are pretty uptight.  And plus, so many bad things have happened since my last confession. Not just with me, but with the whole world Father. Can’t you get God to fix any of it? Doesn’t he have a to-do list? Can’t he ramp it up a bit? Maybe make a spreadsheet or get a personal assistant or download an app or something? What did you say Father? One thousand Hail Mary’s and one thousand Our Fathers? Oh, okay. Ya, I think I was done anyway. Do ya’ll have coffee in the lobby? I’m on it, thanks for listening. Here’s my act of Contrition. Oh my God I’m hardly sorry for having offended thee… Wait, how does it go? Uh, I’ll just go….

Wayne Dyer makes God seem like an ocean of happy place, and aren’t we all just little drops of water in his ocean? That’s cool. Who doesn’t love the ocean? The kid from Heaven Is For Real makes God sound like a singing, fun loving, party-throwing hippie.  I’m trying to find my way, and the only thing I know do is search aimlessly about like a blind puppy in a barn, running into walls and avoiding hooves. I really like Joel Osteen lately. You know, he and Victoria love me, and I find solace in that during my difficult times. I used to watch Joyce Meyer on TV sometimes, but she got all face-lifted and angry. It’s too much confrontation for me, even from my couch to her pulpit. Pema Chodron at least understands that life is messy and sometimes we want to punch people, and there is no judgment. Maybe I should become a Buddhist. Fewer rules really. The rules are: We resist punching people, we send loving kindness instead, and we meditate. For hours, to the go-o-o-o-ong of the Buddhist bell or whatever. I like bells and nature. That sounds nice.

Is meditation the answer then? How do you meditate? When I try it, my mind is like, Okay, be calm, think about nothing. Minimalists have nothing. I should become a minimalist. But could I get rid of all of my books?  Some of my books? Am I really ever going to read Middlemarch? Okay, I’ll get rid of Middlemarch. Damn, these are the underwear that keep going up my butt crack. Why don’t I just get rid of these underwear? I mean, underwear are cheap, there is really no excuse. If my underwear are going up my butt crack does that mean my butt is getting fatter? Am I turning into my mother?  BZZZTTTCRACKKAPOW. Stop the Boat. Turn on the TV. Meditation time is over. Let’s watch Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and get spiritual tomorrow.

Clearly I’d need a new mind to be good Buddhist.

I’m listening to Wayne Dyer’s Change Your Thoughts Change Your Life on my commute. It’s good, but really, if you are going through something really crappy, telling yourself that it all won’t matter in 100 years doesn’t help. I get the idea behind why it should help, we are all inconsequential beings on a soul journey, blady, blady, but the 100 years from now theory only works for pot smokers.

I’m on the Amazing Race of spiritual seeking, and I’m not discerning. I will believe anything and I will try almost anything. Except sweat lodges (Arizona, 2009, google). At the moment I am reading Broken Open by Elizabeth Lesser. I feel like she is talking directly to me. I have to find balance between that book, and all my end-of-semester work. As in, stop reading that book and get my work done.

I’m looking for answers in all the wrong places perhaps. Maybe it’s not about books and religion, but the people you surround yourself with. I have a great circle, but what I think I need to do is expand my circle of friends to include Oprah (spiritual), Padma Lakshmi (hot), Elizabeth Lesser (spiritual), Ellen Degeneres (funny), Pema Chodron (spiritual), and Theresa from Long Island Medium (fun). Currently I really want to be Theresa’s friend most of all. She is very cool, and hanging with her would never be boring. Of course, she’d always be talking to the spirits, which might get tedious. Especially if I am in the middle of what I feel is a very funny story. I hate to have the punch line wrecked by some dead person crossing over to tell someone else that the other side is a nice place after all.

Perhaps I’ll do a serious post about something very deep and spiritual if I arrive at some solid answers. 

In the meantime, two cool websites:×5/

4 Comments leave one →
  1. 04/19/2012 10:37 pm

    Sister dear,
    It has been my experience from growing up ULTRA religious to NOTHINGNESS to now….What I would call spiritual. I dont know that I believe in organized religion but I believe in being a good person, I believe in being truthful, kind, caring, respectful, and loving. I believe in forgiving others as much for myself as for them. I believe that if everyday we strive to make ourselves a better version of ourselves then we are doing something right…. I never had to do confessions or anything like that but I always found it amusing that in that world saying hail mary could get you out of almost anything! I would have loved that as a kid! Lol…… Love ya!

    • 04/19/2012 10:58 pm

      I like what you believe. Yes, do a rosary and wipe out your sins! Clean slate tomorrow. Awesome. Love you too!

    • 04/21/2012 3:21 pm

      I believe in being truthful, kind, caring, respectful, and loving. I believe in forgiving others as much for myself as for them. I believe that if everyday we strive to make ourselves a better version of ourselves then we are doing something right…

      This atheist says, “Amen.”

      • 04/23/2012 4:22 pm

        I think you are so right about the better version of ourselves. That’s all we truly can control and that should be the life goal, not gaining more money, more stuff, bigger house, or superiority over others. And I think being kind is the best and most challenging endeavor. Joseph Campbell says what we all really want is “vibrant, full-bodied experiences of being alive.” I say Amen to that!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: