CHICAGO – Like the light on a taxi, the hand-painted sign inviting strangers to confess their sins beckoned a small crowd of passers-by splashing through the rain in Chicago’s South Loop area on Friday.

But the brown Ford hatchback with faux stained glass windows was hardly your typical confessional.

For starters, it was the confessor in the driver’s seat doing the confessing. Not the other way around.

The jalopy had been converted by a group of young artists from Columbia College Chicago’s Campus Crusade for Christ.

Rather than expecting visitors to fess up, the young crusaders revealed their own iniquities and apologized on behalf of the church for whatever pain it had caused.

Daniel Kauchick, a cultural studies major who helped dream up the idea, said the task of rescuing the integrity of the 2,000-year-old faith falls to him and his peers.

“Our generation is starting to recognize the mistakes,” Kauchick said. “It’s not the teachings of Christ. It’s how things have been executed and blown out of proportion for political gain.”

Collin Hansen, author of “Young, Restless and Reformed: A Journalist’s Journey with the New Calvinists,” said the Columbia students are like many young Christians today, recovering from oppressive religious upbringings and trying to bring about a reformation of sorts.

In fact, he said, every American Christian revival has begun with a collective confession and ended with an awakening.

“I admire the steps they’re taking,” Hansen said. “It’s a hard thing on a college campus.”

Perhaps that’s why one postcard confessed: “Some of my closest friends don’t know I’m a Christian.”

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.