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Credo

womb

I believe that God created the world and the universe and all within and beyond it — God is Mother, Father, Waymaker, Guardian, Friend. God designed us in their own image and made us of the soil of the earth, which every other living thing is made of too. God is not mere possibility or symbol, but is presence, depth, agent and source of liberation.

I was formed in the womb of many churches, nursed by many saints and stories. Daily I bear the fruits of their teaching. We cannot be Christians without the Church, which calls us to discipleship and greater faithfulness. Beyond this, the church is itself a mark of God’s covenant faithfulness with the world. We are called to be as pluralistic as Christ’s own mixed and multifaceted body, while genuinely rooted in our traditions.

A friend struggling with addiction once told me: “man, I’m just crawling from sacrament to sacrament.” Malcolm X was fond of the idea that if we take one step towards Allah, Allah will take two steps towards us. In the sacraments, we open our mouths, pores, and hands to God and the divine sprints, runs, stumbles, gushes, and crawls towards us.

I believe that there are many sacraments, “first” among them Baptism and the Eucharist. In the waters of baptism, we are plunged into the embalming chaos of the world, and we emerge victoriously raised with Christ, buoyed in living waters that hold us in solidarity with all those experiencing havoc, death, or thirst – our own destinies churning now alongside all suffering and drowned people. In baptism, we “go for broke.”[1] New demands are made of the baptized, as we now constitute Christ’s own Body – a body as dark, female, queer, beautiful, and disabled as we are.

The Eucharist is a steady means of receiving God’s grace, an active way for us to be replenished and re-membered along the journey. Communion connects the faithful with all laborers who have produced the wheat and wine we are consuming; with the sacred land which is our source and sibling; with that entire communion of saints, living and dead, who faithfully rehearse the heavenly banquet alongside us. The Lord’s Supper is the promise that there is enough – that we will eat and drink ourselves into God’s joyous risen life, breaking silence and healing from trauma.

I confess the many words of God – the Word of Christ, enfleshed among us; the Word in the Proclaimed Word before creation; the Word in the delivered preaching moment; the Word made fleshy and sweet in the sacraments; the Words of Sacred Story and Scripture, bristling with the stories of our ancestors. The Bible teaches us everything we need to receive and realize salvation – testaments that teem with violence, indigeneity, resistance, dereliction, empire, hope (each person, too, is a holy word of God, a unique diction that comes syllabically from the mouth of God). Relationship is the heart of God, and a beautiful chorus of voices is at the center of not only the holy scriptures but the Trinity as well.

I see Jesus as the divine disclosure of the creative love behind the universe. Born poor to young parents under foreign occupation and colonization, the cosmic Christ was sent on a stealth mission to overturn death. Jesus was lynched because of us, not God; we are the bloodthirsty ones, not God. Still, by his unjust murder, the Lamb triumphed.

This moment can be explained in many ways: tricking the devil, descending into hell, swallowing up Satan’s kingdom, robbing death of its power, revealing human sacrifice and scapegoating as bankrupt, and far more. God’s raising of Jesus affirms his conquest over death. He is risen today, still reversing our world’s twisted logic, breathing new life into dry bones, and stands in solidarity with the brutalized. I believe in the universal taking on particularity: in my context, sin and death may be understood best as the wages of white supremacy.

I recognize Jesus is still being crucified today among the poor and disenfranchised. I affirm the spiritual headship of all who lament and suffer; in light of God’s preferential option for the poor, we must understand the oppressed as the first among equals. God is specially present among suffering people, who are able to see most clearly. Our departed faithful and all ancestors sustain us – in them we live and move and have our being. We can pray to the saints and ancestors to sustain us. The holy mother of God, too, specially hears our prayers.

I trust in the power and peace of the Holy Spirit, who speaks into our lives and names the sin that we would prefer to keep covered, in our own hearts and in the structures of society. The Holy Ghost animates the church, communities of the faithful everywhere, and helps us resist colonialism and sin (which stems from our inability to understand every body as holy). God’s spirit has been poured out upon all flesh – when handing out spiritual gifts and extending the call of discipleship, God does not discriminate on the basis of gender, sexuality, or color. And yet God does have a preference for the weak, and the afflicted.

I support using many tools: science, faith, story and indigenous wisdom, to shape and understand our world. I reject end-times heresies or any theology that encourages us to discard this beautiful planet. I long to see our hearts, souls, strength, and minds resynchronize with scripture, divest from whiteness and binary thinking, and move towards Lord Christ’s kingdom and God’s committed purposes in the world. The divine call as I hear it now is to love the last and the least – at least as much as we love ourselves.


[1] Hawaiian pidgin for: “going all in,” putting it all on the line. “Go for broke” was a gambling term popularized by the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the segregated Japanese American combat unit which served in the European theater during World War II to become the most decorated army unit in military history. My family served, volunteering from Tule Lake concentration camp in California.

The above is an assignment from my Introduction to Christian Theology course, where I was tasked with writing a Statement of Faith.

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