Last night at the DC Emergent Cohort we had, I think, one of the most interesting conversations that we have had in a while. Consistent Cohorter and member of Church of the Common Table Ryan Page, led us in a honest questioning of the value of saying the creeds in our common life as Christian communities.
Now I am a fan of the creeds so I have to admit I wasn't excited about the topic going in, but Ryan made me stop and think. Not so much about the value or theology of the creed themselves, they have their weirdness's, but all and all I think they are strong and useful. But about the potential threat against hospitality to the un-churched visitor in reciting the creed in our church services. Here is the analogy he made, I found it haunting.
There is a scene in 1984 where a character is being tortured for the purpose of brainwashing him. And as mice are eating his face he is being instructed to say that there are 5 lights in front of him when there are clearly only 4. This first lie, or breech of integrity, is all the brainwashers need to eventually re-program the characters thinking.
To Ryan, this is what it feels like (without the rats, of course) to be pressured by a group of people to stand up and recite a bunch of words that you don't yet believe or understand.
That made me stop and think. I don't know what to do about it, but I think its worth thinking about.