Thursday, April 19, 2012

On How We Believe Statements

I really appreciate all of the comments on my last post about whether or not churches should have statements of faith. I still haven’t landed on what to do for Northshore Vineyard but I did come across a site the other day that seems to get closer to the concept of a How We Believe Statement rather than simply a What We Believe Statement.

The following is the manifesto that can be found on the website for a church called Renevatus in Charlette North Carolina

We are a people under renovation. ~ We are in an ongoing process of growth, change and development. We will own up to where we are, but we won’t stay here.

We are a community of liars, dreamers, and misfits. ~ We are a house of mercy. We will advocate for broken and marginalized people everywhere, inside and outside the Church.

We are a people from the future. ~ We act in fearless conviction that the rules have changed and that we are partnering with God to make that change visible. We will not be reactionary to anything or anyone, because the apocalyptic even of resurrection has already transformed the world.

We ARE your grandmother's church. And your great-grandmother's church. And your great-great-grandmother's church. ~ We embrace continuity with the Church’s past. We seek intergenerational and cultural diversity. We will harness the classic spiritual practices and truths that transcend time and place. We are a local representation of a timeless community.

We will practice the liturgy and the primal shout. ~ We will incite worship that engages both intellect and emotion, believing that the head and heart are to be integrated and not divorced.

We will build altars in the world. ~ We will collect and tell stories. We will celebrate and honor the people, places and things that God chooses to use.

We will reach out without dumbing down. ~ We will challenge you to think hard about God, Church and culture. We will not treat you like a consumer, but as a co-conspirator in the re-imagining of the world.

We will embrace flesh and blood. ~ We believe life in the Spirit has to be lived in a body. We celebrate the Eucharist as the full expression of God’s use of flesh to accomplish His purposes. Our own bodies are now broken with His for the sake of the world.

We are not looking to escape the world, but to re-make it. ~ We believe the earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it. We anticipate His kingdom coming and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven. We will not be done re-making the world until the final restoration of creation.
What I like about the above manifesto is that while it tells you about some of the tenants of their faith it also clues you into the way they intend on living these things out. The statement is filled with theology but in a way that also conveys personality. As far as I am concerned a statement like this is much more helpful than the typical statement of beliefs that most churches put on their web sites.


Unknown said...

If I follow you, the gist of the difference is that the "How" vs. the "What" contains relevance and context, yes? If you're not a rooted and grounded believer, what do the words of a "What We Believe" mean to you? What CAN they mean, without the context behind them? Even Jesus said that some of His teachings were hard to grasp, and He used parables to make them easier to understand; "What", regardless of wording, is lifeless; "How" is alive.

Penny Murray said...

That is a a statement I could sign with my whole being. Brilliantly done.

steven hamilton said...

I think we've moved to embrace the Quaker-orientation here, instead of writing creeds/statements of belief, they write queries/questions they are pursuing. We've been reflecting on the poet Rainer Rilke in his letter to a young poet: "Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day."

randall said...

A good friend ( once wrote:

We Suck…
We have nothing to offer…
We don’t know anything…
We are just a small group of people
in a small room trying to discover
more about God…
Come be confused with us…

I like it.

greenturtle said...

Well, a statement like that might motivate someone like me check the place out.

And especially a statement like randall's. I love it.

To be determined once I got there, of course. I'd have to feel genuinely accepted or I wouldn't stay (those days are over).

To answer a question in the previous thread, I seriously doubt that a lack of faith statement on a website would deter someone from visiting a church.

What's most important is the people that make up the church, and how genuinely accepting they are to newcomers.

Pi Man said...

Hey Crispin,

I think what you posted and what many of the comments here are is absolutely beautiful.

I have to wonder though, is what was posted more of a "Who We Are" kind of thing as opposed to a "What We Believe" kind of thing? I guess it depends how one defines the meaning of the words "What We Believe."

Certainly the posts consist of truths in a more general, broad stroke of the brush so to speak. Again, I think what they say is beautiful. I'm just not sure it answers the fundamental and straight forward questions relating to what "specifically" one's church believes as it's most fundamental tenets. Certainly not in any structured kind of way. (And maybe that's the intent - ha!)

Thanks Bro.