Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Confession of Faith

I have been asked to articulate what I believe. I must confess to finding this a more difficult task than it used to be but still an important one to engage in. Here's a start:

I believe in the existence of God, though for me God is not the anthropomorphic projections of the past (a white haired, bearded man sitting on a throne in the clouds). I see this God through the creative energy of the universe - from the birth of stars to the microscopic intracellular processes that are a part of all life. I find myself captured in awe of the beauty of our natural planet and find it hard to believe that all of this is merely a cosmic accident. I believe that there is something common in our humanity that beyond all cultural accretions resonates with the creative aesthetics in nature, art, music and other life-giving and enhancing activities.

For me, this God becomes personal through an understanding of the Christian gospel. I read the Hebrew Scriptures and learn about a God who is compassionate and concerned for the vulnerable in our societies. I see that God in the life of Jesus, which is characterised by a radically inclusive new social reality that he called the Kingdom of God. I see crucifixion and resurrection at the heart of Christianity representing hope in the midst of suffering.

I find in my own life a need to respond to this counter-cultural call to compassionate, life-giving existence. Furthermore, I find myself inspired, resourced and renewed to fulfill this calling which is beyond my own capacity. On my best days, I sense a rightness about my place in the world that feels attuned to the creative force behind all life, that I call God.


Anonymous said...

That's indistinguishable from new-age mumbo-jumbo, Jason.

There is an unsatisfactory vague sense about your belief in your shadowy God.

If that's all you have to base your faith on, it's not very impressive.

JDK said...

I guess it doesn't have to satisfy you David. It might not be impressive but it's what I have at the moment. I hope you gain some satisfaction from criticising people's personal beliefs.

Anonymous said...

I guess I agree with David in that what you describe sounds far closer to new-age spirituality than the traditional Christian beliefs most commonly found within the Salvation Army. More of a 'child of the universe' and 'Jesus as a great man' type of belief, which I personally would find far more reasonable to hang onto than those traditional beliefs that I feel I am required to have in order to fully remain a part of my Christian community.

I have has some conversations with officers who do seem to think fsirly similarly to yourself, but still outwardly are happy to go along with the party line. They seem to follw a fairly basic philosophy of 'love God, love others', with everything else being secondary detail. Which perhaps is a pretty good way to be.

I guess I am trying to work out how to coexist with people whose beliefs are so different to mine, where I feel I would be considered a non-believer or heretic by many should I fully disclose my opinions on various aspects of Christianity. I also worry about the future direction of the Army when I read the blogs of those that lead, recruit for, attend and plan to attend training college - the strong fundamentalism that I read is one that I don't think I could coexist with in any form.

Thanks for engaging in this ongoing conversation. Perhaps we should catch up for lunch sometime, although my previous comment about this was more a thought that you, me and David together would result in very interesting conversation.

JDK said...

Paul says in Philippians that you should work out your own salvation. I don't see this as license for us to believe anything, but I do think it's important that we don't just inherit the faith of our predecessors. Anyone who thinks that Christianity hasn't changed over the centuries is kidding themselves.

I see my theology more in line with people like Marcus Borg, John Dominic Crossan, Richard Holloway and Michael Morwood than 'New Age' but I guess there are a few similarities. There are also some critical differences, which are difficult to explore fully in a blog format - but I'll do my best to try.

Regards, JDK