I believe in (trust in, not just intellectually assent to) a Power, Force, Rational Principle at the core of the Universe that is the Source of all that is. I believe it has a personal quality (i.e. “father/mother”). This Power is so much greater than anything we can imagine that, for all practical purposes, it is beyond measure and without limit (“all” powerful…at least in comparison with us).
I believe in (trust in, not just intellectually assent to) a man named Jesus who actually lived and who was “anointed” by this Power we call God. Uniquely anointed…never been anyone like him, before or since. So especially related is he to that Power/Source that, when we understand him, we understand something of the Power/Source. (Hence, “only” son – even though we too are sons and daughters of God). I have freely chosen to assent to this Jesus as my “lord.” Lord of the manor of my life. I am committed to the truth of his teaching and the example of his life.
This Jesus was conceived as an absolutely unique child of God (as are we all) – by God’s “spirit.” His mother was Mary of Nazareth. I have absolutely no idea what her physical state was when he was born, but his birth was special, even unique. I assume Joseph was not the father, but that he helped raise Jesus.
Jesus proclaimed the absolute reign and sovereignty of God. He was known to be a healer and exorcist and sage. He prayed. He attracted a band of followers but hung around with the wrong people and ultimately challenged both the religious Establishment and the Roman Empire. It got him into trouble with both and also got him arrested, tried, convicted, and executed. This happened in about 29 CE.
Within a few days, his followers experienced him as alive – personally present with them. Some even saw him. The more they reflected on that experience, the more “God like” he became the closer he seemed to the Power and Force behind it all. They began to believe (and so do I) that, ultimately, his life and teaching is the standard against which we will be measured. His life is the example of what it means to be fully human.
I believe (trust in, not just intellectually assent to) the fact that the Power and Source of it all is alive and active in the universe and world today as something we call “holy spirit.” It is our connection to the Source. I have chosen to be part of the assembly of Jesus’ followers throughout the world. I believe that that community of persons transcends death and that we remain united – through that Power and Source — to all who have died. I believe that their shortcomings, failures, and mistakes, and mine, will not keep us from eternal relationship with the Power/Source of it all because it is all about compassion and self-emptying love.
I believe that, like Jesus, when we die, it is not the end. That there is a continuing (or rather, renewed) existence in the nearer presence of God, and that – like Jesus – we will be “who we are” in that existence. Not merged into the divine mind in such a way that we lose our unique identities as children of God. And that there is still a connection, somehow, with those we love.
All this (and not much more), I believe.