What *do* I believe?

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This week there is a small group in the church working on their own statements of faith as they finish reading Almost Christian. Part of the problem author/pastor/researcher Kenda Creasy Dean names is that we often are not able to articulate our own faith, and therefore have a hard time building Christian community or passing on the content of the Christian tradition, and when that happens then other things that look like Christianity but aren’t (ie, Moralistic Therapeutic Deism) are able to sneak in and colonize the church.

Also, each spring there is a group of teenagers that creates what we call a “Faith Expression”–some way, whether with words, art, music, etc, of saying what they believe. Who is God/Jesus/Spirit? What does God have to do with us? How do we interact with God and one another? What does our faith in God mean for our everyday lives, for how we live on the planet, for how we do our work, for how we treat ourselves and one another? What is the church, and how are we a part of it? Etc.

So, for this week’s installment of “This We Believe,” we’d like to encourage you to think for a few minutes about your faith, and find a way to articulate what you believe. Feel free to put your statements, however brief or lengthy, in the comments so we can encourage each other as we learn to articulate our faith together!

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3 responses »

  1. For reasons that I cannot explain, i have been thinking today about what forms revelation comes in. Perhaps it is the influence of Christmas. When we celebrate Christmas we celebrate revelation in a form that was unexpected by all, ignored by most, misunderstood by many and glorious to only a few — revelation in the form of a baby.
    I sometimes think that American Protestants have narrowed the scope of revelation to an extant that leads to a misperception of God. So much emphasis has been put on the Bible as the infallible word of God, that other forms of revelation are ignored. This is like looking through the wrong end of a telescope. Our view of God is constricted, shrunk and disconnected with life as we live it.
    Where else can we look for evidence of the divine? The first answer that comes to mind is the creation – our world and worlds beyond. God’s signature is writ large across creation. The Hubble telescope or the electron microscope provide powerful windows of revelation.
    Prayer and meditation are another avenue of revelation, if we recall that prayer is not meant just for speaking but also for listening for the “still, small voice of God.”
    The lives of exemplary people are also places where we can see God at work in the world. Exemplary people, not famous people, not necessarily even successful people; but people who embody the Spirit of the Lord.
    I would like to add art as another divine conduit. We cannot miss this form of revelation if we use this blessed season to listen once again to the music which moves us: “Silent Night,” “Ave Maria,” “Oh Holy Night.” And, of course there are other arts, too. The art of preaching. The art of tapestry making. The art of painting.
    I am sure there are other kinds of revelation that do not come some readily to mind. Certainly, life contains many other experiences that give us insight into God. To be truly cognizant of God-With-Us we must look to the Bible to be sure, but we must also look around us and within us for other places where the divine enters our lives. Each form of revelation brings its own perspective. And each path of revelation provides insights that amplify the others. The beauty of nature helps us to read the Word of God with a broader understanding. The life of prayer can prepare us to see the fingerprints of God in our own lives and in the lives of others. The painting can turn a parable of Jesus into a much deeper encounter than we might ever have with only the written word.
    This I believe.
    Fred Neuschel

    • Fred, thanks for this insight from a new, fresh angle. It got me thinking on how I see God’s revelation in people whose words and deeds are so spirit-filled that you sense that they are, as Teri said in Sunday’s sermon, the Word made flesh. They are the revelation of a God who so loved the world.

  2. Fred I love Love LOVE this reflection. Thank you for sharing it with us! It also reminds me a little of the Advent theme represented by the banner hanging in the sanctuary–it’s being revealed little by little, and while we may know what the image will be, we know only in part what the fullness of that image represents.

    I would love to see more of your reflections on art and spirituality…we should talk about a blog series! 🙂

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