Sunday, August 30, 2015


I'm just on it these days about 'belief'...and how unimportant I think 'belief' is.

My last 4 sermons in three different churches have been about how 'belief' isn't the issue--the issue is how we live our lives. Isis has lots of 'belief', they're full of 'belief' and look at them beheading innocent people, enslaving women, destroying ancient places...all because of what they 'believe'. Give me a break--you can 'believe' a lie and be damned.

I'm going to give my friend Andy hell on Tuesday morning because of the sermon he preached at his installation as Rector of St. George's in Middlebury. The whole thing was about how important the creeds are...believing the 'right things'. Give me a kind, compassionate, generous atheist any day to someone who thinks the Nicene Creed is the way to God.

The way to God is in how we live our lives--how we 'be' in this world.

I even admitted today in my sermon that I am a heretic. (We all are, trust me! I teach about the Gnostic Christians at UConn in Waterbury and I start each semester by asking how many people 'believe' in the immortality of the soul. Almost everyone's hand goes up and I say, "You're all heretics. The Christian Church doesn't believe in the immortality of the soul, it believes in 'the resurrection of the dead'. Check the Nicene Creed....So, now that we know we're heretics, let's talk about the Gnostic Christians who the church declared heretical and drove out."

My particular heresy is Pelagianism--named after a Celtic Christian named Pelagios (354-420) who believed that 'original sin did not taint human nature and the mortal will is capable of chooding good or evil without divine aid.'

God bless the Celts!

I actually 'trust' (the word I use for 'belief'--actually the Greek word could be translated that way) that human beings are not inherently evil and tainted. I believe there is a goodness to human beings...a leaning toward the light, if you will.

We were, scripture tells us in Genesis, 'created in the image and likeness of God'. And God, as far as I'm concerned, is good. So we must be chips off that eternal block of Goodness. What mostly makes people crazy and evil is the things they come to believe.

Nazi's 'believed' they were the super-race and all less perfect people should be exterminated. Many Republicans 'believe' illegal immigrants are, by their nature, flawed. Racism rages around the globe. Jews hate Muslims and Muslims return the favor. Many Europeans are horrified about the influx of people fleeing war and craziness and oppression in places like Syria and Africa--the war and craziness and oppression in almost every case being 'belief' based.

I told people recently that the older I get the less I need to believe.

I've got it down to this:
1. God loves you.
2. You're created in God's image.
3. Welcome the stranger.
4. Forgive always.
5. Do unto others as you want to be done to.
6. Include everyone.

I can live with those 6 'beliefs'. If I live out of them, I'll make the world a better place in some small way. And I'll be fine. Just fine. Really. Ponder believing my list and see how it would change your life....

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.