Creed

Challenged to clarify a bottom line of my Christian belief rather than fence-sitting lists of what I doubt or deny I came up with this document. It will always be a work in progress.

A personal creed
(Emphasizing freedom and avoiding the dangers in usage of the word “God.”)

I believe all in the universe, known and yet-to-be known, to be conceived in a graciousness that transcends and intimately pervades all. I believe an essential consequence is freedom to become. This is the costly, vulnerable freedom of the sort gifted by loving parents as their children venture from home. The creative care of the freedom-giver is discerned in beauty, in the wonders of the universe, in the miracle of life, in what it means to be human, in love for each and all, in hope, in both grief and joy, in true justice.
It is not in the nature of the One to patronizingly control or intervene. Such control and intervention would limit the beloveds’ gifted capacity to grow toward mature fullness.
Creation, from sub-atomic particles to galaxies, person to entire ecology, can be seen as an infinite web of free relationships, all in process. I imagine the Love-maker dancing, sometimes in surprised delight, sometimes in sadness, always patiently watching and listening as a consciousness deeply aware of the most intimate and the most infinite relationship processes as creation happens in the ambiance of the love that does not impose.
In consequence of love-gifted freedom there must be a wide range of possibilities within each occasion of creation, from simplest organisms to cosmos. Whatever the objective data of individual positions in creation, there is always mystery in the inner content of relationships. Creation becomes the primary sacrament of the ultimate reality of the One when any relational process is seen to reflect and freely respond in the simple beauty of costly love.
I believe, from deep traditions of faith, from science and art and from living within the life of land that life on earth is, from its beginning, gifted in love to evolve freely. I believe humankind to belong within the ecology of all life with specially gifted capacity, freedom and calling to choose to care within the whole being of this planet, celebrating beauty, seeking renewal by way of forgiveness not only for self but also for all, practising wholeness, always drawing from the infinite aquifer of the Creator’s love, always grateful.

I believe that this calling involves the practice of grace in inclusive community, involving costly justice, vulnerability and servanthood in responsive listening to the voice of the One. I believe that this calling is especially discerned through the story of Jesus. Jesus supremely practised the responsive listening of the heart. He journeyed in earthed, humble, vulnerable,radical freedom, channeling indiscriminate wholeness by way of love. He was so free, so deep grounded in his humanity, that the powers of short-sighted, narrow-vision elitism and religiosity sought to put an end to him in the most lonely and shameful suffering and death. Jesus was as naturally dead as he had so naturally lived. Yet his friends and countless others, then and now, experienced and experience in this natural world his transfigured life as the Christ: personal, relational, grace and love unbounded. In him is the freedom of ultimate truth, prevailing despite such powers as ridicule and the sort of cheap religious practice that gives to the cause of the One known as love a mere comfortable nod.I believe that all life, all creation, is relational and that the synergy of the One Holy Trinity, understood through the experienced Incarnation of Christ shows that in the inner content of relationships ultimate reality is found. My life is centered in the current life of Jesus Christ who patiently calls me daily back to faith lived radically, subversively, as witness to the truth that is more disturbing, more hopeful, than all else put together. I believe that I am unconditionally loved as I am, not as I should be.

I believe that the One calls and gifts people to live out the faith of Christ in the here-and-now world, drawing inspiration and energy in worship, in praying the Scriptures, always open to fresh understandings, recognizing and listening to the Incarnate Presence in the world. I believe in that Church dreamed in the heart of the One: unified, holy, all-embracing, sent out into the world with an absolute priority for the poor-in-hope. Accepting that today’s fragmented, confused, compromised Christian expressions fall far short of the divine dream, I believe I must stand with others in response to the One who, in Jesus, insists disturbingly that renewal by way of reconciliation is to begin with humble doubters like me. With all their failings, it is within these processes of communal faith peopled by humble listeners that the renewing way of Christ is to be poured out into all the world.

I believe other traditions of faith follow valid spiritual pathways and that all should be in respectful conversation. I believe that the present event I name as the Incarnation of Christ in the world is robust enough to be fully inclusive, unlimited by presumption and dogma. I believe that all people of faith are called to stand before the throne of grace humbly representing all humanity. I believe that all humankind is called at this moment in the planet’s history to give absolute priority to the healing of the wounds inflicted by our species on Earth while there is still time to offer real hope to the life of future centuries. I believe that the inclusive Incarnation offers the ground of the needed vision.

I believe that my prayer cannot draw me closer to the Holy One, or draw the Holy One closer to me, for, in Christ, the Holy One is already closer to me than I am to myself; and if that is so then the Holy One is equally close in love to everyone and everything else. For me, prayer in intentional spaces begins with silent awe in approaching the beauty of holiness. Next comes unloading of whatever I, personally and as a representative of a fallen-short world, must confess, unload. Third is the offering of thanks for all things. All this is within the silence of the listening heart in openness to deep, mutual connection. Intercession is offered but not as requests for supernatural intervention. When my ordinary daily living does not reflect such set-aside moments of prayer and that the divine love is absolute for everyone then I fall short, yet am constantly recalled by the One known in grace.

I believe that nature and the story of Jesus show life’s renewal to be always by way of death. I believe the being of holiness is to be discerned and responded to in this natural world. I respect those who major on supernatural, unearthed propositions but these are not essential to my faith today. I believe, that, ready or not, I will die, leaving slender threads of the loves in my life, remembered by a few for a while but soon forgotten, yet woven into the vast, lengthening fabric of loved life on earth. However hesitant and questioning, I hope to continue following the way of Christ, listening to the Spirit of truth, giving all worth to the One in whom every fragment of this world has its being from the beginning. I believe that life on Earth and the planet itself will come to an end but the all-embracing love of the One known as holiness will continue forever.

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