This I Believe

I know creeds and confessions are not exactly a part of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) tradition.  Having arrived among the Disciples from Presbyterian roots I am a sucker for creeds and confessions and love the poetry of the theological works that they come from.  I am to meet with my COM in the Am and have been asked to write a “This I Believe” piece for the committee describing what I believe.  The only rule was that it needed to be less than 250 words.

Here is my belief statement.  I invite you to submit your belief statement to [] and we will publish it here.  The only rule is it must be less than 250 words.

I believe in God the Creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus the Christ, God’s beloved child, our Redeemer, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of Mary, was crucified, died, and was buried. On the third day he conquered death; he ascended into Glory and is seated at the right hand of the Creator. Christ Jesus works to reconcile creation unto Creator. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the giver of life — our sustainer; the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sin, bodily resurrection and life everlasting.

I believe that we are all ordained through Baptism. Baptism is the beginning of one’s deepening of relationship with Jesus the Christ. I believe that which I perceive to be God is not God[1]. I believe that God is beyond my understanding and that God makes real a divine presence in the profane and mundane.

I believe that the Table where we celebrate the Lord’s Supper every Lord’s Day is a place of reconciliation, renewal and prophetic imagination where we are called to “nurture, nourish, & evoke a consciousness & perception alternative to the consciousness & perception of the dominant culture around us.[2] I believe that when we live in a manner that embraces the margins of culture and secures justice for the oppressed, God is pleased.

[1] Augustine

[2] The Prophetic Imagination pg. 13 [Brueggemann, W.]

by Ryan Kemp-Pappan

Ryan is a minister with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) at Douglass Blvd. Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky. He has a B.A. in Religious Studies from California State University, Northridge and a M.Div. from Austin Seminary (TX). He chairs the Faith Leaders for Fairness fighting for equal rights for all in the State of Kentucky. He delivers mad Esoteric Piracy. He likes to think of himself as a Royal Pain in the south end of a north bound donkey, Master of 3 of the 5 logical oceans, Beloved creation, 1985 Beer Chug Champion, Amateur Sock Puppeteer, Buckaroo, Reclaimer of lost treasures, Seeker of truth, Tamer of lions, Pugilist of toothless circus bears, Servant, & Tinker of convoluted ideas…

He blogs at The Fettered Heart. He is a host with HCX.  He dreams of one day fighting for lost souls in the dark, smoke filled rings of Mexico City  as a luchador por Jesus Cristo!


16 thoughts on “This I Believe

    • Thanks, Travis! I used the Apostles Creed as my framework. The Belhar Confession is one of my favorites and would be my stand bye if needed.

  1. A credo is okay, just don’t impose it on me, or I may impose mine on you!!

    I remember being asked to write the infamous credo and then defend it — but that was a long time ago and I didn’t have a 250 word limit. That’s really hard for me, I can’t write anything under 250 words, which is why I’ll stop now.

    • Bob, I agree with you and hope that I have the courage to be a part of the conversation and not the dominate voice. I’d hate to be responsible for a standard other have to live up to.

      It took me 2 months to write the statement above. I am super long winded.

      Peace, Ryan

  2. No creed but Christ. The WORD is one word! But if we must be verbose, let’s at least find a 21st Century standard. Can you Tweet your belief statement? 140 characters? I think of it as western haiku, a new art form. Here’s mine:

    Emmanuel, God with us. The Creator, most exalted, became the Lamb, most humbled. That’s how to love, how much He loves, and how big Love is.

  3. I’m curious about why, as a minister in the DoC, you chose to include the statement “I believe in the holy catholic Church.”

  4. Ryan,
    Our paths never crossed while I was in Kentucky and I don’t know who sits on your committee. Given your statement of belief that everyone is ordained at baptism I would suggest you consider two questions that I think should be asked of every person seeking ordination or recognition of ordination within our denomination.

    1) How are you or will you be different when the Church ordains you?

    2) What authority is conferred upon you at ordination?

    Good luck with your committee. If you see Lon Oliver, please tell him that Michael D said hello.

    • Michael,

      1) I am not sure how to answer this one other than to say that I will become a part of a system that supports and holds me accountable upon ordination. I hope I take that seriously and embrace the family I am seeking provision with.

      2) The authority conferred upon me at ordination would be the authority of the gathered, organized body. I would gain the authority offered by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

      Blessings, Ryan

      ps. I am in care in Louisville and not Lexington so I now longer get to hang out with Lon.

  5. Disciples layperson here — no theological training, and no premeditation for this statment — I am typing it as it comes. I believe that Jesus loved the people that he encountered, and that as a result, their lives were changed. I believe that his willingness to stick to his principles led to his death. I believe that his love for his followers, then and now, transcends his death, and enables us to carry on his ministry. I believe that when his followers gather to worship, we wonder at this great love, and find ourselves humbled and inspired. I believe that when I take communion, I demonstrate my solidarity with Jesus, and my desire to follow him. Haven’t counted words — could write more if I am not over the limit!

  6. A creed is a good starting point, a bad end point.


    To have a loving intimate relationship with God; to serve others by practicing generosity and hospitality; to seek justice, mercy, healing, reconciliation, rehabilitation, inclusion, and participation; and then to live non-violently without vengeance and with a cheerful fearlessness of death and worldly powers – that is the radical and the defiant message and the transformational spirit of the universal and timeless Good News.

    Whatever we do –
    Whatever we are –
    Wherever we are –
    – can never separate us from the love and grace and the surrounding and inviting and welcoming and inclusive presence of God.


    (MS Word counts 92 words)

  7. Pingback: Credo « [D]mergent

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