Thursday, September 19, 2013
WE ARE WHAT WE BELIEVE
Blood on the Street, Chicago, IL, Internet Domain
Dark Cityscape, Chicago, IL
“I believe” is generally the first words proclaiming a confession of faith using a concise statement of belief. Christians are intimately familiar with the Apostle’s creed. It’s been said that when we speak to God we are making statements on which we bet our lives. There are those who say they believe in nothing, which in itself is a belief. And there is the concept of right belief. If we are not guided by right belief where good things will follow, we can easily slip into the darkness and use our life blessings destructively.
I read a book in the late 1950’s while I was in High School titled Knock on any Door. It made a lasting impression to this day and I still recall the street creed of the disenfranchised and disillusioned young men that were the focus of the narrative. These young men lived in the poverty areas of a large city and joined gangs that fulfilled their need for family. But their clarion call was a belief that always ended badly. These young men were living a creed to “live fast, die young and have a good looking corpse”. That fatalistic outlook didn’t leave much room for the hope of a purposeful life. Unfortunately, it’s still very much alive and well today in locations such as Chicago’s south side where murders of young people are a weekly ritual. An estimated 70,000 gang members were reportedly involved in 80% of Chicago’s 500 murders in 2012.
The polar opposite of the street creed can be found in Christianity’s Apostles’ creed. It concisely offers belief in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus his only Son, savior of our souls, and the Holy Spirit, counselor and comforter. This belief statement guides purposeful lives by further professing a belief in the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and the hope of a life everlasting. And we are what we believe.