Tom Harpur is a journalist, TV host, and Canada’s best-known author on the topics of religion and spirituality. He is an Anglican priest and Rhodes scholar who studied philosophy and theology at Oxford. He has written a statement of faith—a “creed” as he calls it—that goes like this:
We believe, and put our trust in God, Creator and Sustainer of all things, from the farthest-flung galaxies to the most microscopic forms of life; God is above and around and within every one of us, and yet so far beyond us in transcendence that our minds cannot fathom the mystery and our only response is wonder and worship. And we believe God sent Jesus, anointing him in the power of the Spirit, to declare by word and deed the gospel of personal and social liberation from the power of fear and all injustice and oppression. Though he was cruelly and unjustly murdered, God raised him from death and God’s seal is set forever on Jesus’ message and ministry. In him we know that God is love, and that forgiveness and acceptance are ours always. In him we are called to realize God’s kingdom in our own lives and in the lives of others. In him we are called to join with God in making all things new. We believe God has granted to us and to all humanity the same Spirit that was in Jesus, creating community and empowering us to be like him. We believe in a dimension of existence yet to come. We seek to build God’s kingdom here, but we also look beyond to a day when wars will end and God’s New Jerusalem will be revealed. We believe. God help our unbelief.
There are things in this creed I would say differently, and some things I wouldn’t say at all, and other things that need to be said, but that is precisely Harpur’s point. He says, “This ‘creed’ makes no claim whatever to be perfect. No creed will be. But it shows the direction in which I believe we could move. I challenge readers to take the time to create a creed for themselves. Discuss it and improve upon it with others. Simplify!” (The Emerging Christian Way, p. 64).
Suppose you did that? Suppose you tried to write down in a single paragraph what you believe. You might not call it a creed (Baptists have “no creed but the Bible”), but you could work on a statement of belief as a theological exercise, as a way of nailing down in a few sentences what is most essential to your faith. If it turns out well, and if you are willing to share, you could post it here by clicking on the word “comments” below.
Thanks for reading, thinking, and believing,