What I Believe In

Tonight I spoke at our Wednesday evening Vespers service. I thought I’d share what I had to say here. A little background: from September through now we’ve been looking at the Apostle’s Creed and thinking about our own beliefs and doubts how they mesh or maybe don’t mesh with the statements made in the creed. I told Scott, the Vespers coordinator, that I’d like to speak one of the nights. And I thought I knew what I was going to say but in the end, this all came together for me this morning.

I don’t know what I believe.

At least, that’s how I often feel. Whether it’s doubt or the rather exhausting way my brain must look at everything from every side but rarely come to a succinct conclusion; I feel as though I either believe in everything or nothing at all.

The beliefs I held twenty years ago are vastly different from the beliefs I held ten years ago which are quite different from the beliefs I hold today. On the one hand, I know that is to be expected as I age and, hopefully, mature. On the other hand, my propensity to seemingly be swayed either by time and experience or by a well thought out argument troubles me. Am I getting wiser or just being wishy washy?

As I’ve been contemplating what I was going to say here tonight, I came to realize the difference between core beliefs, the foundational ones that will never change, and transient beliefs that center around personal preferences or schools of thought or what’s popular at any given moment. It’s the transient beliefs that have been changing as I get older and learn more. They may define seasons of my life but they do not define who I am.

Before a few months ago, I had never given much thought to the creed that we’ve been focusing on for the past several weeks. Creed was an academic word to me, a concept, something else other religions focused on. But as we read those words each week and contemplated each part of it, I began to see that that is where my core belief lies. I believe those statements we read each and every week. And I always have. And I always will.

I’m not sure what I believe when it comes to many of the hot button issues our churches face. I’m not sure what I believe in terms of how we read the Bible or how exactly prayer works or where we came from.

But I do believe in God. I do believe in Jesus. I do believe in the Holy Spirit. This will not change. It can’t change, because it is as much a part of me as this mortal shell I dwell in.

That is what I believe in.

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10 Comments

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10 responses to “What I Believe In

  1. Thank you for sharing your talk, Malia. I have a question: is the Apostles Creed considered part of your faith tradition, or just something you are studying to contrast against the Bible? My kids and I have been memorizing it this week, so it is fresh on my mind.

    • Malia

      Growing up in the Churches of Christ, I never, ever heard of the Apostles Creed. The first inkling I even had of such a thing came in high school when I was on a youth mission trip doing some door knocking evangelism and one man asked us if we believed in the virgin birth. (I was completely flabbergasted by that question and I had never knew before then that that was a belief that not everyone held. I did believe that but it had never been stated out loud like that before.)

      And the first time I ever read the Apostles Creed and a couple of it’s variations was this past August when we had a meeting to discuss plans for the upcoming Vespers season. We’ve been reading the creed each week (well a variation of it) and we’ve had people (some members, some guests) do a “This I Believe” type talk. Last night was the last week for that series. We take a break next week, then have a few weeks of Advent nights in December.

      It’s been very enlightening. And it was really neat to see that the statements in the creed are ones I’ve always believed even without ever having read it before.

      • Creed is a dirty word in the more conservative Churches of Christ (where Malia goes is not one of the more conservative churches) because those creeds are not specifically recorded in the Bible and therefore considered unnecessary and extraneous, but the basic tenets of the Apostle’s Creed and even the Nicene creed would be assented to by most members of the Church of Christ, conservative or otherwise as long as they weren’t called a creed.

      • Malia

        Well said, Jordana!

  2. Nicole

    thanks for sharing this Malia! I feel much the way you do, and long for the day that I might be able to read more and think more and come to some more concrete place with my own personal theology. in the meantime, I keep praying and going to church and making an effort to raise my children into moral little people (regardless of what path they may ultimately choose for themselves). And I believe.

    • Malia

      Nicole, thank you for your comment. I think we both can find comfort just in knowing that we have that core belief, the one that really matters. The other stuff will take care of itself.

  3. Wonderfully done! It’s cool that your church is studying the creed. I grew up United Methodist and am now Roman Catholic, and both faiths have the creed at their core, so it’s completely a part of me.

    I love what you said.

  4. Michelle

    I stumbled upon your blog through a simple “I don’t know what I believe” quote web search. It was something that had been bothering me quite a bit and just wondered if anyone out there in this world wide web pondered the same thing. Ironically enough, your post was just what I had been looking for. Thank you very much for this – it solidified a similar thought process I had. Good to know that there are others out there thinking the same way. :) Nice post!

  5. Malia, I love when you write like this.

    Thank you for sharing this. I love ‘seeing’ into others’ thought processes.

    xoxoxo

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