I spent many hours the past few days writing down a summary of my core Christian beliefs. Why?
- To put it in writing to give to my sons this Christmas in a letter I periodically write to them;
- As a good exercise in clarifying and articulating what I believe;
- To take a public stand about that which is most important to me.
I know people who go through life bouncing from one belief to another like a pinball, never really committing to anything beyond what feels or sounds good at the moment, being more reactive than thoughtful and proactive. I know some who try to appease everyone with the silly and illogical notion that all religious beliefs are equal and that “truth” is whatever any individual claims it to be for himself. I know many who hold beliefs quite incompatible with Christianity, and some who claim no religious faith at all.
Many believe what they believe merely because it is the tradition in which they were raised (including countless self-identified Christians). They may or may not have given it much thought. For them, such belief may be no more than intellectual assent to certain teachings or cooperation with cultural and societal norms without any real personal conviction or stake in it.
A statement declaring my core beliefs – my creed – requires a lot more space than one of these short, daily, lesson learned posts, so I have posted the longer statement on the This, I Believe page of this blog. I hope you will read it. Agree or disagree, I invite you to add your comments to the page. I welcome the dialog.
Beliefs change as we mature, as we experience life, and as we gain deeper understanding about matters that eluded us before. Beliefs may not radically shift between incompatible positions, but they should at least be fine-tuned, deepening in understanding and conviction as time goes on.
If you haven’t taken the time in a while (or ever) to think through and write down your core beliefs, I encourage you to do so.
Leap year lesson #360 is Know what you believe.