“We believe that God … “
For the first time in my life I was give the real reason why I find the “creed of belief” recited in church – but carried like a badge of honour outside of it – so troubling.
“We believe that God … “ In that moment and place caused me a pain in the deep down place where God Soft Hands Jesus lives within. An immediate knowing of that isn’t good – that is not sacred – that is … what exactly?
That moment and place:
In a carpark in a bus with some young folk none of whom profess a faith one would recognise – so none of whom are “churched” … One young person was bemoaning the absence of her good looks, her natural beauty, and the need for cosmetic surgery to fix this and that and the other. The young person was a young teenager with ambitions way beyond her chronological looks and years. In other words a young (girl) person doing what a young (girl) person does so often. There are plenty of ways to respond. This young person may or may not change. But as a very young teenager is also certain they are correct in everything.
Another team member replied with: “We believe that God … “ and went on to say each of us is created beautiful and God sees and knows that. “Nothing wrong with that” might be a reasonable view.
So why was I screaming silently for it to stop?
And the deep down place?
“We believe” in that moment and place means I believe what you believe and you believe what I believe – and “we believe” (in that moment and place) meant much more than “We believe God thinks you are beautiful.”
That statement comes complete with all the “religious and church” packaging – wrapped in all the perceived and type-cast “do-gooder wrapping”. And now, to that one person – plus her two or three friends within ear-shot – we all – the whole team – we all believe all of that.
So are we now “them” (even if we are more okay than most of “them”)?
And for everyone else in the team – that “we believe” might be true – but it might not be true. Not all the “packaging” belief. And that makes it an assumption that can so easily bind a team to silence. And that makes us a club you are not part of.
And then where is there room for conversation? Where is there room for diversity? Where is there room for “real” connections one-one?
Because when real curiosity and young living and cultural learning meets kindness and unconditional love – and not a word of why (unless asked – usually!) in a carpark each week … That is powerful.
So “We believe” in that place and moment takes away everyone’s individuality. But more than that …
“We believe” is a journey. And if it is not a journey – if “We believe” is static and must never change because “We must never change our belief in God” …
Then I do NOT believe what “we believe”. So please don’t tell everyone I do.
Because I am on a journey and my “I believe” has changed and keeps changing. And I do not ever want that to stop. So I do not want to have to be silent for your sake because you might have.
Not when there is more at stake than “we believe”.
Because there will be just one special creation that my God has drawn me to and I to them … Drawn together in a certain time and place like that carpark in that moment … And if “we believe” makes me “them” rather than just someone who loves without condition … then that special creation and I may never connect as intended.
And that I do believe.