Wednesday, 29 September 2010

the story of Goldilocks and the 'just right' affirmation of faith

The other week I was having dinner with friends.  They'd been to a church that shall be nameless which had, in its order of service, an affirmation of faith.  As we ate and blethered we recalled times when we'd been confronted with statements of faith - foisted upon us on a sheet within worship - with the expectation that we would, having never seen it before and thus, not had time to consider it, blithely utter it in some meaningful way.
Some affirmations, or statements, over the years have been cringe-worthy.
Some have been sailing close to the orthodox theological wind.
Some written so ambiguously and clumsily that one was not quite sure what one was actually attempting to affirm.
Others written focusing in on the language of power and domination and exclusion.

We generally agreed that the writing of creeds, or statements, or affirmations of faith is a pretty pernickety and difficult business.  I later wondered if writing such things is a little like the story of Goldilocks and the three bears, and how to construct a statement that is 'just right'.  Given the breadth and diversity of the Church, is there a 'just right' affirmation?
That said, the affirmation of faith from church that shall be nameless is something I think I could mostly, happily say.
I particularly responded to the gender stereotype reversal in the line:
'with a father's tenderness and a mother's strength'

What do others think?

AFFIRMATION OF FAITH

We believe in one God:
the creator of all things,
who loves the whole creation
with a father's tenderness and a mother's strength.

We believe in one God:
our Liberator Jesus Christ,
the Word of God made flesh,
true God and truly human;
born among the poor he lived as bringer of God's kingdom;
a teacher and a healer,
a lover of life and a prophet of justice,
forgiver of sins and a friend of sinners,
who welcomed the outcasts and challenged the powerful,
whose death on the cross defeated sin and death,
who rose from the dead
and is alive forever in power and glory.

We believe in one God:
the Holy Spirit, the giver of life,
the Breath of life in all life,
the gift of God to the people of God,
Disturber and Comforter,
the fire and the dove,
who makes us one community in peace and love.

We believe in one God,
a community of love,
a trinity of holiness,
the beginning and end of all life.
Amen.

cross-posted at http://newperspectivesedin.blogspot.com/2010/09/story-of-goldilocks-and-just-right.html

3 comments:

Teri said...

I like it a lot!
the problems you name with affirmations of faith are why we so rarely use them--the historic creeds have their own issues, and the newer affirmations require some time to think and pray with...so we use hymns and songs as affirmations instead. They have similar difficulties but somehow we seem to respond better that way...

Ruth said...

Last year I used the Methodist New Year Covenant prayer at my services but I made them read it first before saying it together (if they wanted) so know what you are saying.

Julie said...

Back in the annals of time; when I was training for the Readership we were set a task for a tutorial to write our own creed to reflect what we each beleived, felt, thought... it was an interesting exercise. But more than that it forced us to thnk about exactly what you have identified: even with the more familiar creeds we either just say the word; or we dont; but rarely do we actually consider what it is we are saying.
I can remember in my teens suddenly realising what it was I had been saying for years every Sunday - and for a while, in my stubborn teenaged stab for independence I began to miss out the lines I was either unsure of, or downright disagreed with!
I very rarely use the creed now in worship; maybe only two or three times a year. Don't know why - just is how it is.
I did once do a series of sermons on the Creed - breaking it up over about 9 weeks I think - and culminating with the final week being a confirmation Sunday when we did use the whole creed and for many it was the first time they'd said it with confidence.
I like the version that started you on this quest - and invite you to go sit on the beach (your beach!)and write one for yourself - let our Creator guide you... as you reminded me - he's got yer back!