As part of a book study at my church, we discussed A New Creed and the “stumbling block” words or phrases included within it. The phrase “to proclaim Jesus, crucified and risen, our judge and our hope” creates lots of discussion. In what way is Jesus risen, if at all? Why should he be my judge?
During a follow-up discussion, a friend and I tried to figure out if I qualify as a Christian. I don’t believe that Jesus rose bodily from the dead, and I don’t believe in a figure in the sky judging my actions. Many of the phrases in A New Creed catch in my throat. If I don’t believe that Jesus died for my sins, am I Christian?
I decided to write my own creed.
When I was writing, I debated about including Jesus at all. I am a former atheist; how does a former atheist reconcile Jesus into a creed? However, my years as a Sunday school teacher taught me that the word Jesus and the words compassion and social justice pop up in almost every lesson. He was one of the few men at the time of his patriarchal society who treated women as equal. He brushed aside the strict rules of his society to welcome all people to the table at all times.
Two thousand years ago Jesus was more progressive than many people today.
The way he lived his life inspired me. So here is Arlene’s creed. You be the judge.
I see, touch, taste, hear and smell creation, the scientific and tangible. I share a unity of existence with this creation, and when I respect it, I respect myself, and everything—according to its own nature.
Senses I do not yet understand perceive the mystical and intangible. I am connected to a divine source that vibrates with gratitude and love.
I embrace the fullness of the scientific and the divine.
Through mindfulness, meditation and prayer, I centre myself in the presents of the present.
I honour my teachers, who come to me with lessons when I need them. Everyday encounters of grief, suffering, trials, challenges, joy, or accomplishment.
I honour lessons of the great faith traditions and of Jesus who was crucified and yet is with me.
Gifts flow to me, as they flow from me.
God co-creates with me.