Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith

Norris, Kathleen

Riverhead, 1998

pp. 205 - 207

Norris struggles with the very idea of a creed and appears to find the very idea somehow off-putting. A creed is a barrier. It’s a standard of orthodoxy, and that’s a red flag. She would rather they were pieces of story-telling, accounts of the life of Jesus, etc., or of “My father was a wandering Aramean who went down into Egypt . . . . “ “At their worst creeds conjure up for me the family ghosts of a hard-edged conservative Christianity; they can seem like a grocery list of beliefs that that one has to comprehend and assent to fully before one dares show one’s face in church. A friend: “you have to subscribe to all that crap, or you have no business being in church.’ The way to see them: creeds are “a way of speaking in tongues.” A relief from technological jargon. Choose the Nicene Creed in particular. “’God of God, Light of light . . .’ It gives me great pleasure to hear a church full of respectable people suddenly start to talk like William Blake.” Creeds have their place. But the Bible does more with story than with definition.