Communal Believing – The Nicene Creed, Part 3

Someone once asked an old hermit, “Is Jesus your personal Lord and Savior?” “No,” he said. “I prefer to share him with others.”

There is wisdom in the hermit’s words. The Christian life is not about “me and my Jesus.” That’s too small, too easy, and too risky. It can quickly degenerate into “Sheilaism.” In his book, Habits of the Heart, Robert Bellah writes of a woman, Sheila, who had taken various beliefs from here and there and constructed a private religion she named Sheilaism. It left her isolated from a community of faith, outside a sacred Tradition, and free to believe a thousand different things before lunchtime on any given day.

Individualism is one of the great dangers and idols in today’s society. It’s not just about Sheila. Continue reading “Communal Believing – The Nicene Creed, Part 3”

Who Believes? The Nicene Creed, Part 2

The following article was originally written for Reflections Online and published by the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas. It is the second in a series on the Nicene Creed. Part 1 may be found here.

The earliest creedal statements were short professions of faith, often reflected local concerns, and were not necessarily concerned with uniformity of expression. Within the various statements, however, points of agreement were grounded in the Jesus story. Perhaps, the earliest statement is, “Jesus is Lord.” By the end of the second century such statements were steadily moving toward an increasingly standard expression of the faith.

However, the creeds were never intended to be exclusive or exhaustive doctrinal statements. They are, rather, a concise, formal, and authorized statement of basic beliefs about God. They do not offer details of Jesus’ life, teachings, or miracles. They respond to bigger questions. Who is Jesus? How did he enter this world? How did he leave this world? The creeds point us to the gospels for more details. The creeds simply state a truth rather than explaining the details of that truth. They state what is rather than how it is. The “how it is” is experienced in Continue reading “Who Believes? The Nicene Creed, Part 2”

Feast of All Saints – Te Deum laudaumus

You are God    Te Deum laudamus You are God: we praise you; You are the Lord; we acclaim you; You are the eternal Father: All creation worships you. To you all angels, all the powers of heaven, Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory. The glorious company of … Continue reading Feast of All Saints – Te Deum laudaumus