Thursday, January 27, 2005

symposium: creeds and prayers

I'm trying to get some of the ideas I'm thinking about in connection with symposium out of my crowded head and into more concrete forms, but in blog-able bits as possible. So here's one:

Ron Byars talked today about Ecclesiology (the doctrine of the church) and Prayers and Creeds.

He noted that creeds are weird to us because we tend to be very individualistic - we sometimes treat church like going to the gym. We all do the same thing, but the presense of others doesn't help or hinder it. Church, though, should be also about our identity as a community, and I liked the way he emphasized the way speaking creeds helps us subvert our individual identities to our collective identity as the church.

I will admit that creed statements are probably the least meaningful part of a church service for me, when they're included at all. But this idea of using them as an act of unity - rehearsing the story of God's work in the world and what we know about God. After all, the repitition of stories is how a group gains their identity in the first place. Part of what makes any group (my family, the WAs, either of my churches...) group-y is the common stories we share. I think a lot of these come out in inside jokes. Maybe, in a sense, creeds and repeating the stories of salvation in the proclaimation is the church's way of repeating those favorite stories and those inside jokes. Instead of "remember the time pastor mark mispronounced facade" or "remember when we went to the beach and everybody else was really late" it's "remember when God saved the Israelites from slavery? Remember how Jesus died, ascended, and left us the Holy Spirit?"