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July 25, 2012

My Personal Creed – 1979

I am humble, full of awe and wonder before God and His universe of creation with its distances, its minuteness, its incredible order and system and beauty, its apparent directedness in time, and in its patient evolvement of life, including even me.

I am grateful that Jesus, in his life and death, has shown me that God is sharing in my own sufferings and griefs and struggles, and that God is loving and forgiving and at all times is reaching His hand out to me, offering strength and comfort and guidance.

I am trustful that God will direct and use me as part of His plan and purpose, and I must respond by giving Him my love, my will, my self.

My Personal Creed –  2012-2016

I am humble, full of awe and wonder at the mystery of God in Creation, that I see happening now all around me – in new life each spring, in the birth of a baby, in the warmth of the sun and the glory of the night sky – a constantly changing universe with its distances, its minuteness, its incredible order and system and beauty, and in the patient and persistent evolving of life – including even me.  Seeing God in Creation, I must respond  with awe and respect and love as a participant in the evolution of the cosmos, including our planet Earth as a home for all of life.

I see Jesus as God in History.  Jesus was a living human being within whom the holy was so intimately and totally present in the human that they were as one, thus revealing what it is to be fully human, embodying love and forgiveness, servanthood and sacrifice, and thereby redefining my understanding and experience of God.  I must therefore live each ordinary day as a holy day with God’s presence in me defining who I am.

I rejoice that I am not alone but a part of God in Community, bound in the relationship to all of life, and especially in the relationships of those closest to me.  God is an integral part of that community.  I experience God as the love both within me and from others, providing  purpose and comfort and guidance, urging me to act with compassion and justice and love, and showing me my own potential to become fully human by transcending my inborn self-serving survival instincts.   My own response must be to live  in oneness with God’s world,  to  love  extravagantly, to wash more feet.

[Note: I use the terms, Creation, History, Community, following Eugene Peterson’s description of the Trinity in his book, Christ Plays in a Thousand Places.]

My Comments on My Personal Creeds 

As my thinking evolved over the years, I found that I constantly needed new words to express my own perceptions and feelings about God and who I am – those fundamental questions in life. The Christian church has created several concise answers over the years that we call Creeds, and it is important to realize that even though the words may be hard to understand in our time, there is behind each such creed and statement very real human experiences of the transcendent God in words that had real meaning to those who wrote them. All such answers over the years are a precious part of our Christian heritage. But I think that each generation must develop its own answers in its own words consistent with the constantly changing and growing understanding of the world. It is too easy to make icons of our statements of faith and thereby fix their descriptions of the Ultimate for all subsequent generations.

My Personal Creed – 1979 was written as a part of an adult class on Creeds I was teaching – the Hartwell Class at Bethesda United Methodist Church, Bethesda, Maryland. It reflected the Trinitarian form of the Apostles Creed, but was stated in words that to me were consistent with my scientific background especially for God the Father.  While it does not articulate clearly who Jesus and the Holy Spirit were and are., it does express my experience with God at that point in my life at age 55.

My Personal Creed – 2012-2016  I wrote this 33 years later, at age 88, and with various rewordings, it now reflects the evolution of my thoughts and experience during these recent years.  It too is in a three-paragraph form, representing the Trinity. As a Christian, I still accept the Trinity, not as defining God (that’s beyond our words), but as describing how we humans can experience God. I found Eugene Peterson’s discussion very helpful  [see my earlier blog post, The Trinity as a Guide to Christian Living]. I experience God, first as Creativity, a transcendent presence that shows itself as an active process that I see happening all around me and within me. I don’t see God as a noun, a distant creator that started things ticking a long time ago, but as an active present-tense verb demonstrating change and growth and creativity all around me in life and in the stars and in me. This is what I mean by God as Father. Second I see God in History, in Jesus, a particular human being at a particular moment in time.    And God’s presence within Jesus was such that our experience and understanding of God was forever changed. This is what I mean by God as Son. And third, I see God as Spirit, being an integral part of all life and which seems to be the only way the first disciples could describe their new experience of God within them. And significantly, that conscious experience of God as Spirit has been a part of every generation since. This is what I mean by God as Holy Spirit.

These words in no way explain God, but they point to real human experiences, and for me they are consistent with our present understanding of our post-Darwinian, post DNA world with our current cosmology of galaxies and stars and space-time. And in all of this, there is still great and wonderful mystery. I am grateful and excited to be a part of that mystery with its awe and wonder. For we are still evolving and are still incomplete human beings – not yet fully human. But we can recognize our potential to be more fully human as we grow more and more in the likeness of Jesus.

Loren Bullock
July, 2012, revised October, 2012, August, 2013, September, 2014, and January, 2016


From → Beliefs

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