Sunday, June 04, 2006

Not "What We Believe," but "What We Know"

I was participating today in a confirmation class at my church. We were using the book Claim the Name published by Cokesbury. This week's unit included a discussion of the Apostles' Creed.

The class leader, Gene Kleppinger, said, "You'll notice the headline reads 'What we believe,' but a better translation might be 'What we know.'"

He said it so matter-of-factly that a chill went down my back.

We live in a post-modern age when so much knowledge is thought to be relative to our culture or to the reader/believer. We no longer have "truths," we have "values." What I value might be different from what you value. What I believe, different from what you believe. We do our own things based on our own feelings, and we all seem to be OK with this.

I really liked hearing, along with that room of young people, that the statements of the Apostles' Creed make up rather more than a relativistic system of hopes--things we want to believe.

We don't just happen to think these things about Our Lord. We know these things, and we know them through the four avenues of scripture, tradition, reason, and personal experience.

It's taken years for me to come to that assurance. I wish someone had told me that when I was 12 or 13 years old. (Maybe someone did, and I was too self-absorbed to listen.)

Our confirmation students were shy. They didn't respond much to our calls for questions or comments. So I'm not sure how they reacted to the class. But I left the class feeling great. I loved that sense of assurance, not only in the Creed, but the promise of God's care.

"God's love" the class was told by Gene quoting the text, "is with us throughout our lives. We need only to claim it and live it" (70).


Best wishes,
Mason Smith


Blogger Gene Kleppinger said...

Mason, I'm so glad you caught that "matter-of-fact" comment from me. As a matter of fact I don't recall saying it, but I'm very glad I did.

Monday, 03 July, 2006  

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