Thursday, June 02, 2005

A Personal Creed?

Everyone has a creed, which is just a way of saying that everyone believes something. If your highest value is power, that's certainly in your creed. If it's pleasure, likewise; or greed? you have a greed creed! etc. etc.

For example Tillich: your God is your ultimate concern- it may be a bottle of whiskey.

In recent years the Nicene Creed has lost its credibility, with me among others. It came to me that lacking that I need to verbalize my own creed. I've found two clauses that seem essential:

1. Community, corporate worship, even godly work is best achieved in the small group. Huge churches by and large seem hollow shells of what I perceive as Christianity. Of course they may contain within their membership vital communal groups providing meaningful worship and work. They are the true church rather than the large congeries, which is invariably a principality-- a worldly domination system run by worldly men, ecclesiastical and otherwise. In spite of the unwieldy, worldly eccesiastical structures Christ's work is done largely by individuals, usually related to a small group-- such as the original Twelve.

Community is built when we tell our stories. It depends upon love, and nothing is more calculated to elicit the love of God and neighbor than the individual's story, told to the small group.

It even works with multitudes. Karen Armstrong has recently told her story in a book entitled The Spiral Staircase. It's hard to believe that any commited Christian can read her story without a warming of their heart and a strong sense of appreciation for the godly work she has done.


Mark Walter said...
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Mark Walter said...

I agree that the best community is in small groups, where people have an opportunity to share, while others have the opportunity to listen, become inspired and/or build up courage. I find the ability to transform is stronger in the smaller groups, because you have an opportunity to get to know each other, to become exposed to various intimacies, where you find out that you are still accepted. That's when a trust culture can be built, where it becomes okay to "just be me". That is a very healthy environment to grow and learn in.

Best regards,

Liz Opp said...

Over the years, I have come across some references that either healing or community or both happen most effectively when there are three things in place:

• story
• silence
• song.

I think it's interesting that I can't remember if the references were about healing or community, but in both cases, I think all three elements are necessary. Does this imply that healing and community are interdependent...? Hmmm...

I also recall a question that Friend John Calvi asks occasionally during his workshops, for each workshop participant to identify the 3-5 "rules" that we live by.

In my case, my current rules would be:

1. Live and choose without regret.
2. Listen first to understand.
3. Consider what is in "right order" or "right relationship."
4. Test my leadings and nudges before acting.

Granted, rules and creeds are not the same thing. I think my personal creed would at the very least encompass these things:

• God is still speaking to me; I must continue to listen.

• If I can be patient long enough, and lay aside my ego and my personal wants, I will come to understand where and how I am called to be in the world.

• God is with me, with each of us; God is all-compassionate.

All this reminds me of the line, Bidden or unbidden, God is present. (Apparently, this quote is attributed to Carl Jung. What a guy!)

Thanks for the opportunity to reflect on these things, Larry.

Liz, The Good Raised Up

david said...

Community is built when we tell our stories. It depends upon love, and nothing is more calculated to elicit the love of God and neighbor than the individual's story, told to the small group.

Can't get a better definition of church than that. At least, church as it could be.

Larry said...

Thank you, David, for that encouragement and affirmation.

Don't you suppose our Bible Study Group may not be pretty close to it?

david said...

I hope so.

I'm feeling a tad burnt out right now so am not really feeling connected to it. Too many life changes to attend to I guess.