Several weeks ago, I shared online that I was writing what many seminarians say is the most important and intimidating paper of their educational experience. I was writing the dreaded personal creed– the lengthy paper in which we’re to explain what we believe and why. I was nervous about writing this paper because I don’t (or maybe I should say “I didn’t”) have a creed. I hated the idea of solidifying my beliefs in one twenty-page document. I also worried that I would fail miserably. I imagined myself starting the paper and never finishing–and subsequently failing my required course.
I suppose those fears are why I didn’t take this course one year ago when I should have. I registered for the class and then dropped it a few days before the first day. I remember thinking, “Write a creed? I can’t do that. Procrastinate? Now that, I can do.”
I couldn’t, however, put the course off this year. Because I’m so close to graduation, I can no longer allow fear to choose which courses I will and won’t take. In order to graduate on time, I’ll have to take my courses when they’re available– even the ones that scare me to death. I enrolled in the dreaded Systematic Theology course this past spring and wrote my paper while openly joking and agonizing about the process in the world of social media.
I shared online that rather than employ “systematic theology,” my paper would be an account of why I systematically dismantled most of what I used to believe. That statement prompted several of my Internet acquaintances to indicate that they’d like to read the paper. I was hesitant at first, but after giving it some thought, I’ve decided to make the paper public.
I was required to offer a response to the Apostles’ Creed, section by section, beginning with Article Four. I did as my instructor (someone I understand to be theologically conservative) requested. I got an A. (Thanks, Professor!)
I’m uploading my paper with hope that my semester-long endeavor to find words for my personal creed will provide language (or at least food for thought) for someone else.
Those of you who are interested are welcome to download a PDF of my credo statement. I’ll also be posting the paper in sections here on my blog over the next several days. Thanks, everyone, for your support and have a great week!