Back in 2010, I read a book called Almost Christian by Kenda Creasy Dean. It is a very well written exploration of a survey done on the spirituality of American teenagers. Two ideas from the book got stuck in my brain and wouldn't let go.
1. The shaping power of parents - A finding from the study: "The single most important influence on the religious and spiritual lives of adolescents is their parents" (p. 203).
2. The shaping power of creeds - The teenagers surveyed that had the most dynamic faith were some of the best at articulating what they actually believed. As Dean puts it, "Creeds are articulated beliefs" (p. 70). So, if we want our girls to have a faith that lasts we needed to give them some tools to articulate it well.
These two thoughts rattled around in my brain and in conversations with Rachel for weeks and finally we decided to do something about it - we decided to come up with a family creed.
Now our church heritage historically has been antagonistic towards creeds and I understand why - they can have a tendency to sit in place of Scripture instead of pulling believers to Scripture. But, the misuses of creeds shouldn't make us give up on them entirely. Instead we should put them in their proper place. We saw a creed as a powerful tool for articulating what we believe as a family. So, we looked at some famous creeds to get some ideas (Apostle's, Nicene, etc.). Just as those creeds were formulated to articulate faith in specific contexts, we wanted to try our hand at expressing what we hold to be true in our own time, place and family.
First of all, Rachel and I brainstormed some key stories or ideas we wanted to be sure and include in the creed. Then, we each took a shot at writing the creed separately. We then read our drafts to each other and mashed them together using the lines or phrases that fit best. We had a couple of principles going into this - we wanted it to be short - something easy for us and our girls' to memorize - and we wanted it formed in a way that would be understandable for the kids now, but hold deeper meaning as they get older.
We believe that one God created a good and beautiful world,
But the first people disobeyed God and broke God’s good gift.
And up until today all of creation suffers brokenness.
God worked through a chosen people, Israel, to show the world how to live well...and finally sent Jesus the King!
Jesus came to share good news: that everyone is invited to come into God’s Kingdom!
Jesus taught those with ears to hear how to live well: we love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and body, and we love our neighbor as ourselves.
Jesus asks us to be his messengers: we share that good news with others and we join his quest to fix the world and make things right.
Jesus did amazing things up until his death on a cross. Three days later he defeated sin, death, and Satan and rose again.
We believe that Jesus is ALIVE and is coming back; he will raise the dead and save the day!
While we wait God’s Holy Spirit lives inside us, helps us make good choices, and gives us power to worship God and serve others.