What is your personal credo? Have you thought about creating a statement that defines who you are, what you believe, and how you see yourself interacting with the world? Many of us have been given such statements based on religious identity. Yet when people choose to shed the traditional creeds attached to denominational doctrine, or the beliefs associated with non-denominational movements, one’s tribal identity and credo is also shed.
This leaves a void that many of us want to fill for our own sake. It prompts the need to develop a personal credo, tailor made to fit us as individuals.
I know. I experienced the void as I shed all of the labels I had carried for most of my life. In thinking through who I had become as I matured in my faith, I needed to develop a credo. I needed to examine why I do what I do. What really motivates me? What do I believe about God, humanity, and the world in which I live? If I no longer choose to recite a creed handed down to me through tradition, then what creed best fits my soul?
In 1995, when I walked away from the institutional model of the church, I didn’t realize that I’d never be able to return.
I tried, but I was never able to fully re-invest my heart and spirit. It took many years to discern the reasons behind my lack of desire. I hadn’t walked away from my faith or my beliefs. In fact, my faith grew by leaps and bounds after leaving institutionalized religion. So whenever I tried to reinvest in the institution none of its rituals made sense anymore.
I think my biggest issue was that I had been taken to the 30,000 foot level. I had seen the fact that institutionalized religion was walled, exclusive, and tribal. More than her divisions, I had become aware that I didn’t fit within that man-made structure anymore. But the thing most odd was that my faith in God, the light of Christ and the work of the Spirit was stronger and more alive than ever before.
Here’s the thing. The creeds we recite because we’ve learned to recite them are a bit like training wheels on a bike. They provide some stability while learning to find one’s own sense of balance. At some point, however, I found that I needed to stop relying on those training wheels. I needed to secure my sense of balance. For me, that meant living without a programmed religious identity in order to discover my deepest “sincerely held” convictions.
To be sure, most Christians will find my personal credo lacking the typical religious overtones.
God is between every letter, word and line of my credo. God is the reason behind all I believe and trust. God is the reason I have faith, confidence, perception and expectations. But my credo doesn’t mention the name of God, Jesus, or the divine Spirit. The point of a personal credo isn’t to define a set of beliefs about God. The point is to define who I am in God. What do I believe about the world in which I live? What motivates everything I say and do? What is it that provides my personal sense of balance? What defines the spiritual ground on which I stand?
For what it’s worth, here is my personal credo:
I believe the human spirit is resilient beyond measure.
I trust that humanity can and will correct the wrongs that harm the Creation and diminish our collective power.
I have faith that all hierarchical systems of inequality, injustice, and neglect will eventually topple.
I am confident in humanity’s ability to “close the portals” that cause people to fall through societal cracks, and never reach their fullest potential.
I perceive that the human species is at a precipice in its collective spiritual maturity.
I expect that the human spirit will be propelled forward to become the best versions of who we are created to be.