Repeatedly in recent years, members of my family have been urging me to write a full-length autobiography. I have resisted these suggestions. I tried nonetheless to address this proposal when I accepted the invitation to write a "middle-sized book" that "could amount to a kind of autobiography in small bites."
The idea of reciting an unchanging creed sounds suspicious to modern ears. But the late, great historian Jaroslav Pelikan illuminated ancient tradition in order to enliven faith in the present and the future. He insisted that strong statements of belief will be necessary if pluralism in the 21st century is to thrive. We take in his moving, provocative perspective on our enduring need for creeds.
An address presented in 2003 in conjunction with a performance, "Concert of Credo Settings in Honor of Jaroslav Pelikan," performed earlier that day by the Yale Schola Cantorum, the Yale Russian Chorus, and the Hellenic College Schola Cantora of Brookline, Massachusetts.
Used in both the East and the West, the Nicene Creed is a statement of faith that provides the basis for unity among Christians, including Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Calvinist and many other Christians. The creed was established as part of the eucharistic liturgy during the 5th century. In the Eastern church, the creed is also used at baptisms.
The Maasai Creed is a creed composed in about 1960 by Western Christian missionaries for the Maasai, an indigenous African tribe of semi-nomadic people located primarily in Kenya and northern Tanzania. The creed attempts to express the essentials of the Christian faith within the Maasai culture.
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Of all the lessons my children take from our family’s winter solstice celebration, this is the one I hope they remember most: even in the midst of the darkness, within you is the luminous glow that will, in perfect timing, spark the return of your joy. Nurture and honor it, always.
A doctrinal framework that's fallen out of favor may be the best hope in giving Christian's faith a structure and a language they can articulate.
About the Image
Christian Orthodox worshippers hold their heads up as a ray of light comes through a skylight in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's old city during the 'Holy Fire' ceremony on the eve of the Orthodox Easter. Believers hold that the fire is miraculously sent from heaven to ignite candles held by the Greek Orthodox patriarch in an annual rite dating back to the 4th century that symbolises the resurrection of Jesus.
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An understanding of Easter from inside the Armenian Orthodox tradition that is at once mystical and literally down to earth. Vigen Guroian is a theologian who experiences Easter as a call to our senses. He is passionate about the meaning of grand ideas like incarnation, death, and eternity as revealed in life and in his garden.
The people we later recognize as prophets, says Bible scholar Walter Brueggemann, are also poets. They reframe what is at stake in chaotic times. Hear a very special voice in conversation to address our changing lives and the deepest meaning of hope this season.
Karen Armstrong speaks about her progression from a disillusioned and damaged young nun into, in her words, a "freelance monotheist." She's a formidable thinker and scholar, but as a theologian she calls herself an amateur — noting that the Latin root of the word "amateur" means a love of one's subject. Seven years in a strict religious order nearly snuffed out her ability to think about faith at all. Here, we hear the story behind Armstrong's developing ideas about God.