I have had some busy days since my last post, but the good news is that the Systematic Theology paper is history! Writing a 25 page paper in which one constructs a comprehensive, cohesive and consistent credo is no easy task. There was much to include and organizing it into a structure that flows in an orderly and logical manner was challenging. It was actually a very good exercise, though, as it helped me examine my own understanding of the Christian faith and challenged me to explore my embedded theology – those things that I have been taught since I was a small child. As I wrote I was comforted by the fact that no theology is ever final. Based on our life experiences, we learn more, we ask questions, and our understanding of God is remolded and reshaped. Experiences like my trip to El Salvador cause us to unpack our beliefs and ask ourselves important questions: Why do I believe this? Based on this new experience, does my belief make sense? Does it still fit? These are hard questions, but they must be explored if one is to honestly articulate her understanding of the Christian faith. Another thing that provided comfort and grace as I wrote my paper was the fact that no theologian is ever completely consistent in his or her theology. That relieved some of my paralyzing pressure for perfection.
As one who likes order and organization and who grew up in a church whose tradition was to recite a creed every Sunday, I began to contemplate my systematic theology by writing my own statement of faith as it currently stands, structuring it like the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds. It provided me with a basic form from which to start and what followed was an attempt to explain each component of my creed more fully and critically.
Here then is my Credo or statement of beliefs. By sharing it, I invite conversation and dialogue as each of us continues to explore our faith and our relationship with the Divine.
I believe in One God, made manifest in the three personas of the Trinity:
God, the Father and Creator,
God, the Son and Redeemer,
God, the Holy Spirit and Sustainer.
I believe in the goodness of all human beings,
created in the image and likeness of God,
co-creators with God of all that has been, all that is and all that ever will be,
and who, through the free will given by their Creator, have failed to be
faithful to the covenant established therein.
I believe in Jesus Christ,
the Word became flesh, truly human and truly divine,
Reconciler, Redeemer, Savior and Friend.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the divine presence and guide for holy living,
Comforter, Healer, and Source of hope.
I believe in grace, mercy and the forgiveness of sins:
prevenient grace, whereby God called me and drew me in before I was even
aware of it;
justifying grace, the free gift of God’s salvation which I accept through the
Incarnation and resurrection of Jesus the Christ,
and sanctifying grace, which continues to transform me through the power
of the Holy Spirit.
I believe in the revelation of God
through Scripture, written by humans inspired by their experiences of and
and through nature, music, arts and other created beings.
I believe in the church as the community of believers,
initiated and incorporated through baptism,
the Body of Christ in the world,
serving others, seeking justice,
preserving creation and proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ
whose life and death is remembered and celebrated through the
mystery of Holy Communion.
I believe in the in the reign of God,
proclaiming it now “on earth as it is in heaven,”
and in the time to come when Christ returns in final victory to claim life