Shuck and Jive

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Writing on Water

It is rather odd, really, that the question, "What do you believe?" is associated with religion or Christianity. Beliefs are a strange place to begin. Are beliefs that important? I don't think so.

I think of listing my beliefs as an exercise in writing on water, rather than etching them in stone. On the other hand, listing those things we think are important or true (at least for us) is a helpful way to take stock of our lives.

I found this great post at iAllison. Allison works for an intriguing faith community, Christ Community Church. (I borrow a liturgical resource from them now and then).

Allison decided to offer a list of her beliefs even as she says

"I also resist talking about my religion in terms of what I believe, because I find my beliefs are ever-changing and belief tends to imply dogma, which I just don’t do."
Ten Beliefs of This Progressive Christian

1) I believe that interfaith dialogue is essential to understanding the world and to know Truths my tradition has missed or omitted.

2) I believe stories found in the Bible, when understood as metaphor and myth can be used to teach me profound Truths.

3) I believe there are as many ways to be Christian as there are people in the tradition.

4) I believe the way I understand Jesus, as a radical activist, and a compassionate teacher, shows more about my way of viewing the world than it does any “truth” of Jesus. The truth is he lived a long time ago, and the records are not clear.

5) I believe religion should lead you to more questions than answers.

6) I believe my tradition causes me to question social values of the day, and to push society to be more inclusive. That being the case I believe Christianity should be on the forefront of fighting for the human rights of people who are gay, lesbian, and transgendered.

7) I believe religion is only one piece of the pie, and should not be confused with history, science, psychology, or other important disciplines. All are needed for a balanced life.

8) I believe much hatred has been caused by the interpretation of Christianity by some throughout history and today; leading to wars, bigotry, racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. This one belief alone has caused me to turn my back on Christianity many times, and constantly question why I am connected at all.

9) I believe the following of a religious or spiritual tradition with the support of a community can lead to great transformation of individuals and cultures. This one belief alone has caused me to stay within Christianity hoping to be a part of this transformation of consciousness, the next great awakening.

10) I believe no one knows what happens after this life, and if we spent even half as much time bringing the peace to this world what so many hope for in the next, we could experience heaven on earth.
I like this list of ten. I really like the honesty of number 4. What would your list look like?


  1. Interesting that you don't think beliefs are that important.

    This is, of course, intellectual cowardice, but if thats true, keep in mind that there are people who believe that...

    1. A fetus is not a human being.

    2. A Jew is a subhuman

    3. A Black is 3/5ths of a man. (Dred Scott decision)

    4. Forced sterilization is OK (Oliver Wendell Holmes)

    5. You can do whatever you want in this life and there are no eternal consequences

    6. The Holocaust never happened

    7. It can't happen again


    But, so what? Beliefs aren't that important, being written on water and all...

  2. This post reflects an ongoing theme on my blog, what it means to be Christian today.

    For a counter-point to this post see Henry's web.