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by Lawson Wulsin

Three years ago, after being served communion once again by my brother, the priest of St Andrew’s Episcopal Church, and reciting the Nicene Creed with my usual questions about what I really believe, I came home and wrote a creed I could believe. Last month, while talking to our atheist son about his marriage in a Catholic church, I reread my “Credo,” and shared it with him. Though it does not make me a Christian, this “Credo” has clarified what I do believe. And it has helped me understand why it’s still okay to recite the words of the Nicene Creed with those who, like my brother, believe it more literally than I do. For any believers with doubts, I recommend the exercise.

I believe

That before the Word there was no God,

And the beginning of God was the Word,

And with the Word came the new reach,

The reach first of one imagination to another,

Then of two imaginations to the same beyond.

I believe

That once one Australopithican,

Bewildered on an empty day

High on the rim of the Rift Valley,

Found another Australopithican,

Both ripe for a word,

And the insemination began with the insistent Who?

And later the When?

And the Why?

Again and again and again,

Asking against the thunderstrikes

And the ways of nature’s game

And the ecstasies of wonderchildren

And all that dashed and dazzled them.

I believe that Man made God in his image,

And, as Man makes the child,

Made God the Maker of Man.

This was the procreation of God to save Man.

For we are so wired that alone we die

But together we scratch out our fighting chances.

And once we knew this about ourselves,

That mythmaking could save the tribe,

That sharing a God could bind us through blight and catastrophe,

That loyalty to a common God allowed us

To endure the fickleness of our own flesh and kin—

Once we knew this about ourselves,

The race was on.

Among the toolmakers it was the mythmakers who survived.

So now no tribe survives without its gods,

And now wherever two gather to beat bad odds,

God may show up too,

Through Moses, Jesus, Mohammed, who knows—

Often appearing to the bewildered to save the day,

Which is good for faith, hope, and love,

And may be why we hold our gods so dear,

So worth dying for.

Through the Word we find God,

And through God we find Love,

And through Love we find each other—

Which only proves the truth of our folly when we say

That God finished making our world on Saturday.

Lawson Wulsin lives in Cincinnati, Ohio


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I find it sad that it’s “my way or the highway” for some folks here.

I am sure many current Episcopalians of quite orthodox beliefs were first drawn to the church by the motto, “whoever you are, and wherever you are on your spiritual journey, you are welcome here” that allowed them to find their own way into faith.

I doubt they would have arrived if they had to pass a checklist of required beliefs before they were allowed through the door.

As for the Cafe, I concur that there seems to be quite a bit of rancor, or at least polarization, of late. It is unfortunate.

Susan Forsburg

Gary Paul Gilbert

The people who work on the Episcopal Cafe deserve people’s thanks for providing such an amazingly open forum, one in which church leaders are called to explain themselves from time to time. I am thinking in particular about the discussion about the restructuring of the denomination.

Gary Paul Gilbert

Adam Wood

On Pragmatic Theologians

O practiced hand of theory, ever taking

paths that lead to “useful,” even making

knowledge of divine like kit instructions

turning points of dogma into functions-

Away! and take your scheming sermons with you.

I will not hear conclusions that your myth drew.

For I seek wisdom, truth, illumination-

but you say truth depends on situation.

Fall in the arms of God, and you will see, then,

That pragmatists are worse than any heathen,

For to have seen, but still “explain,” God’s graces,

is like a pen that writes and, just as fast, erases.

Yet there is hope for all (for God is gracious)

no matter how wrong-headed or fallacious.

For I once thought as you- but I was youthful,

and now know only truth makes something truthful.

Bill Dilworth

“I find it fascinating that whole hunks of Episcopalians seem to expect every other blessed Episcopalian to be just as sure and certain about the Nicene Creed, et al as our ordained leadership.”

I find it fascinating that you seem to think the laity regard our ordained leadership as being particularly sure and certain about the Nicene Creed, Clint.

I also find it fascinating that concerns expressed about this particular post are interpreted as being somehow against doubt or questioning, since the post itself doesn’t deal with those topics at all. If someone on this thread has asserted that there is no place in the Church for questioning or doubt, I must have missed it.

Jim Naughton

C Wingate, you haven’t got any idea the price that some of us associated with the Cafe have paid for its editorial independence. You’ve worn out your welcome.

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