Bishop Lawrence Provenzano of the Episcopal Church lauded this school project in an e-mail to the class in which he said, “It is a terrific statement of faith and an important expression of your own sincerely held belief. …Your creed is a gift to me and the entire Diocese of Long Island and I am grateful for your sharing it with me.”
Bishop Provenzano offered his blessing for Caroline Church to use this creed during all liturgies on Mother’s Day, and invited the class to share it.
What did the kids come up with? This:
We believe in the Eternal, Sacred, and Mystical God, the Creator of all, who is powerful and all-knowing, who listens, loves, and forgives, and remains willing to be merciful and giving.
We believe in the Selfless, Divine and Human, Rebel Jesus, our Savior and BFFL*, who was a wanderer, healer, teacher, and storyteller. Although He died, He is living today.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the mysterious breath of God, the friendly ghost and mighty wind, who is our comforter and protector.
We believe in God’s Holy Church. It invites and welcomes us home as God’s family. It is traditional, yet intimate. It is a place of learning and worship, where we are given discipline and structure while being fed with holy food and drink.
We believe in believing and learning, in prayer, mercy, and forgiving. We believe in miracles, beauty, and music. And we believe that we matter.
The tame God described in this creed reminds me of a scene in Neil Gaiman’s novel American Gods. The gods Woden and Ishtar, sitting in a coffee place in San Francisco, are arguing over whether anyone actually remembers or worships them. He calls to the waitress.
“I was just wondering if you could solve a little argument we were having over here. My friend and I were disagreeing over what the word ‘Easter’ means. Would you happen to know?”
The girl stared at him as if green toads had begun pushing their way between his lips. Then she said, “I don’t know about any of that Christian stuff. I’m a pagan. ”
“And tell me, as a pagan, who do you worship?”
“That’s right. I imagine you must have a pretty wide-open field. So to whom do you set up your household altar? To whom do you bow down? To whom do you pray at dawn and dusk?”
Her lips described several shapes without saying anything before she said, “The female principle. It’s an empowerment thing. You know?”
“Indeed. And this female principle of yours. Does she have a name?”
“She’s the goddess within us all,” said the girl ith the eyebrow ring, color rising to her cheek. “She doesn’t need a name.”
“Ah,” said Wednesday, with a wide monkey grin, “so do you have might bacchanals in her honor? Do you drink blood wine under the full moon while scarlet candles burn in silver candleholders? Do you step naked into the seafoam, chanting ecstatically to your nameless goddess while the waves lick at your legs, lapping your thighs like the tongues of a thousand leopards?”
“You’re making fun of me,” she said. “We don’t do any of that stuff you were saying.”
“There,” said Wednesday, “is one who ‘does not have the faith and will not have the fun,’ Chesterton. Pagan indeed. ”