I believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.
I believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. I believe in one holy universal and apostolic Church. I acknowledge that it is by Grace we are Saved and that comes through faith in Christ without whom there is no forgiveness. I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.
*adapted from the Nicene Creed
It’s easy to recite a creed. It’s simple to copy and paste a text and use it as a statement of faith. It’s much more difficult to begin with nothing and grow from that nothingness a working, living theology. Any creed or statement of believing has its shortcomings. It’s too easy to get lost in the doctrines of belief and lose sight of the belief itself.
I grew up in a very conservative (“Independent, Fundamental, Baptist”) religious tradition. That was by no means a bad thing. It gave me the foundation and framework through which I viewed life. I attended a Christian College in the US and one of my degrees was in Biblical Studies. A few years after finishing University I was ordained as a minister in the US. But creeds, degrees and ordination certificates don’t make me a follower of Christ. There is not ‘proof’ that my life is in Christ outside of life itself. And while now there are still these core, basic fundamentals that I hold to, I feel that now, it’s no longer me holding on to my faith or God but it is holding me.
I don’t label myself as a follower of one particular denomination or another. Specifically because I believe that’s dangerous. There are certainly certain things and ideas I subscribe to from various theologians both historical and modern. But to say that my faith, my practices, my life can be summed up by the teachings of another person or group is, to me, preposterous. My favorite professor in College once said that our systems of belief should function more as tents than permanent structures. I’m sure the way he worded it was better, but the idea is essentially the same. If I reach a point in my faith where I say: “This is everything I believe and that’s the end of it”. Then it seems to limit (or at the very least hinder) the work that the Holy Spirit could be doing in my life.
So I surrender to the unknowing. I’m comfortable resting in something I will never fully understand or comprehend. And in some sense I could be called a mystic. I will never argue tooth and nail over my idea or concept of God being right. Because I certainly don’t know everything. And I can guarantee I am wrong about many things. My views and opinions have changed over the years and I am certain they will continue to change. There are many details of the application of my faith and the nitty-gritty specifics that I may have some ideas or strong opinions about. But I’m willing to admit I may be wrong. And that’s ok.
Because the core, the center, the foundation of my faith is not a version of the Bible, it’s not in a way of acting, or speaking. It’s not in one theological argument or another.
The self-sustaining center of my faith is Christ.
The creator, sustainer and finisher of all things. The beginning and the end. God made flesh. 100% man and 100% God. Perfect. Holy. And the only sacrifice that redeems me and makes me fit to stand before God as I am. The love of Christ given to me by Grace is not dependent on my behavior or my understanding of the how or why.
It’s a mystery. And I’m ok with that.