Instead of providing a clear, simple, and unambiguous “statement of faith” that summarizes what we profess to believe as a church in a series of bullet points, we feel like we need to explain ourselves first.
One of the most common ways people tend to define a church community is through the doctrines they profess. Then this definition is used to judge one particular church over and against another. It is in this way that through the centuries Christianity has become a much divided religion. This is not to say that all division is blatantly deconstructive. Christ’s own metaphor of the Kingdom of God being like a large tree in which all the birds of the air come to nest may have been a haunting but tender prophecy of this very present reality. Division may not be the Divine ideal, but certainly it has not left a too small tree.
Still, at Cana Community we are a community of believers who want to remain, as much as humanly possible, removed from this doctrinal divisiveness. We are happy to be a part of the grand tree that is Christianity but do not want to try to establish our own branch, or graft onto one that already exists. We are too much of a hybrid anyway; borrowing from so many branches that strict definition eludes us. We would rather cling to the Christ and His purposes than to try to be another voice in the already crowded debate over doctrine.
We are thankful for the debate. It has been going on for two thousand years and has resulted in giving the Christian faith some very much needed guidance. The men and women who have been responsible for refining doctrine have been invaluable to the journeys of countless pilgrims. Our thanks for them, and respect of them, will not diminish. But we at Cana Community are called as a group of followers of Christ to a different mission.
Debate and division can so easily distract us from purpose. We want to remain engaged in our purpose: to learn to love God and others – to become more genuine followers of The Christ, and to encourage the people around us to do the same. Francis Schaeffer echoed Christ’s own words when he wrote: “Love and the unity it attests to is the mark Christ gave Christians to wear before the world. Only with this mark may the world know that Christians are indeed Christians and that Jesus was sent by the Father.” At Cana Community, you may not find a community that is all on the same doctrinal page, but hopefully you will find a community of believers that witness to the reality of Jesus Christ and His love for the world.
All of this is not to say that we reject doctrine and encourage chaos of opinion. We do not. But we do recognize that how we hold the truths we believe in can be almost as important as the truth itself. After all, we do not want to be correct in our opinions at the cost of loving others. One of the many beautiful characteristics of Jesus was His immense grace for those who did not believe the “correct” doctrine. An endearing image of this way of living was when a woman, arguably a prostitute, came to Him and washed His feet with her tears. The religiously astute of the time were scandalized by this display which obviously ran counter to so much correct teaching. But Jesus trumped that correctness with a love so pure. We would like to love with this kind of purity.
So instead of trying to create the perfect doctrinal statement that defines our community and exposes a tenacity for being correct, we instead embrace a statement of faith that has been around for almost as long as the worldwide church itself. The Apostle’s Creed. It has served countless communities of faithful followers of Christ for many centuries and we embrace it as our own statement of faith.
Our Statement of Faith (aka The Apostles Creed)
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. AMEN.