Click Map for Details

Flag Counter

Sunday, July 11, 2010

I Believe


Thank you for your last writing describing you beliefs—it was a plain statement of “I Believe.”  Following is what “I Believe.”

I believe in the universal church of Christ.  I believe that his church entails all Christians no matter what institution they may belong to—or don’t belong to.  His church is present wherever one or more believe(s) and serve(s) in His name.  I go to the United Methodist Church.  It was founded in the 1700’s, but that is irrelevant.  What is relevant is that it puts Christ the Redeemer at the center, teaches the resurrected Christ, and the Trinity, and serves God in the name of Christ.  I believe that God is love, that the true and essential quality of a Christian is the spirit of love in their daily lives.  This expression and undergirding of love is made possible by the grace of God.  It can be expressed individually and communally within all institutions—including those within which we work for a living wage.    Love is a discipline that should inform all of life—our human relationships and our attitude towards our natural world and human processes.  I believe that there is evil and that evil is most often, in one way or another, an expression of selfish pride and hard-heartedness—the absence of love.  It occurs when reciprocity and empathy are lost—when the Golden and Silver Rules are forgotten.  What are some of the attributes of a Christian?  Essential attributes include the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control).  This is made possible by God’s grace in which our perception itself is altered and selfishness no longer rules our view of things.  Other attributes include respect, objectivity, and non-fallacious reasoning.  Love realizes that in many respects life takes effort and discipline.  Love sits at God’s banquet table, but realizes there are no free lunches on earth. I believe that evil has existed throughout human history.  It has helped usher in many tragedies.  But a primary responsibility is the condition of my own heart—as Jesus said, “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.”  Nevertheless I must stand ready to play a role in society that combats evil, else I put my head in the sand.  Evil is not a figment of my imagination, it is very real and sometimes entails a social response.
Below is an “I Believe” from my mother.
(Written aprx. 1965)

I believe God is the creator of all things. Mankind may make many things from that which God has created.

God made man in His likeness, therefore man has the capacity to love, to be kind, thoughtful and honest toward everyone and himself. He has the power to think, and use his mind to gain knowledge from all the vastness of God’s creation. Also, the ability to choose what is right or wrong.

I believe God sent Christ into the world to seek and to save the lost, as found in Luke 19:10.

Christ came to reveal God’s likeness through his teaching, healing and saving power and His concern for all people. His spirit is present in the world today always working that his will be done.

As far as I possibly can, I do and will teach of the love of God, visit the sad and broken-hearted and try to help them find the Way, and help all that I can regardless of race or creed. I must not hold a grudge against anyone or be prejudice. I certainly feel to be a true Christian we must forgive as Christ was always forgiving. I know I have had to be forgiven by Him many times. He is my redeemer, and the redeemer of all who will come to him in sincerity.

He is my refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. He is so real in times of joy and gladness as well as at all other times.

I feel as sure as I live and breathe (and oh how real!), that life is eternal (John 3:16), For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. I believe I am choosing where I will live it, when death comes here, by the way I live daily.

I shall endeavor to live as near Christ’s Way as possible, He being my helper and guide.
Christ and God the center.
(Mrs. E. T. Standifer)

Happy Birthday !!!! (1997)
Down the years your light has shown,
Securing night and day,
Complex events were made OK,
By your steady care.
Reliable kindness & affection,
Now light your words and deeds,
You have mastered life itself,
By being Jesus’ friend.


Below is my take of “I Believe” written some 4 years ago.

5/31/2006 3:33 AM

My mother’s philosophy of life cannot be improved upon in my opinion. In short, I wish I could write a philosophy of life as good as hers. Since I cannot, I will lumber along with what I can.

My philosophy begins with “God is love.” A discipline and attitude of love should inform all my life. This is a far ranging concept and extends to all of life. For example, the way I treat other people to the way I accomplish my work should undergo the disciplines of love. I have used the example of repairing a bike. To repair a bike with love means that I will have patience (not get aggravated and kick in the spokes); I will seek the truth (to earnestly get to the real problem); I will envision possibilities (I won’t give up on the bike); I will do some planning on how I will accomplish my goal of fixing the bike; I will make an effort to use the right tools (I won’t use the first wrench that’s handy if that would strip the threads). The key concept here is that love is a discipline and that it can be applied to a broad swath of life’s situations, circumstances, and subjects. Really, though it is not commonly called by that name, love is fundamental to many callings of life.

The second concept I hold in importance is that of forgiveness. Forgiveness is important for big things and little. I need to forgive others and I have to accept forgiveness myself. Without forgiveness there is bitterness and rancor or an uptight defensiveness. Forgiveness is needed often. Many times during the day I can conjure up offenses against me. I have to have an active goodwill to counter these real or imagined attacks with an inclusive attitude that puts me and others on the same side. I don’t have the strength to do this without help from the Holy Spirit.

The third concept I hold in importance is that of institutional limitations. The creative sector, the governmental sector, and the sector of church and families all run the risk of forfeiting their own proper roles if they attempt to substantially play the role of another sector. For example, a government that attempts to be substantially creative (economically productive) rather than regulatory runs the risk of loosing or forfeiting its “fair referee” status. (I am indebted to Dietrich Bonhoeffer for this idea.)

Mother said it best. “Christ and God the center.” Without this focus I am sooner or later cut off at the knees by my own arrogance.

Print Page