A few years ago I took a “Building Your Own Theology” class. At the end of the class, we were all challenged to write our own credo. After exploring our various religious backgrounds, past and present concepts of God and spirituality, we were challenged to put our beliefs in words for others to hear. I found this very difficult, and this is the statement the I finally created:
It is uncomfortable for me to make a statement of “This I Believe”. It feels so secure, so final. So authoritative. The fact is, I have doubt. And I don’t want to deny my doubt. Doubt is that door – open just a crack to allow an exchange of new thought and ideas. Doubt is what causes questions, questions that challenge answers and lead to new ideas. Perhaps wisdom is not “knowing answers”, but is rather the willingness to challenge one’s own beliefs.
So, at best, when I state my beliefs, they come in the form of compromise:
• I believe in justice, unless it comes at the price of compassion
• I believe in the sanctity of life, unless it cheapens the quality of life
• I believe in freedom, tempered with responsibility
• I believe in truth, unless that truth causes harm.
• I believe there is serenity in acceptance, but also loss of hope
• I believe in trust, and that trust can put one in danger
• I believe in the beauty of nature, but that nature also has a cruelty borne of practicality
• I believe in the interconnectedness of a life force, and yet daily I experience aloneness
• I believe that questions are more enduring than answers.
Within my belief system I must make choices along the gradient of compromise, and these choices are what define me over time.
This then is what I choose:
• I choose to anticipate the goodness of other people, and to approach others with trust
• I choose to forgive, when that trust is misplaced
• I choose to see and hear the beauty around me every day and do my part to protect and nurture that beauty
• I choose to live my life as if even the smallest thing matters
• I choose to appreciate life however it unfolds
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