The Flatlanders’ Creed
David Mills on Putting God in His Box
“I believe in God the Almighty Lord Creator, / I believe in Jesus the Savior of the people, / And I do believe in the power of the Spirit” runs (leaving out all the repetition) a creed now popular in some Anglican circles, indeed in some places used instead of the Nicene Creed in the Communion liturgy. Taken from South Africa, whose Anglican Church is the most westernized in Africa, it is sung to a very bouncy tune, which probably explains some of its appeal.
The tune, Louis Tarsitano wrote me, is “a critical detail here. The childish mind that hates the discipline of dogma is usually, at the same time, addicted to entertainment. Dogma is ‘boring,’ but finger painting your own ‘creed’ is ‘fun’.” The people I know who like this sort of thing intend to believe the full Nicene doctrine, if the choice is put that clearly, but simply do not know it well enough or love it deeply enough to say it when an entertaining alternative is on offer.
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David Mills has been editor of Touchstone and executive editor of First Things.
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