The early church called creeds “symbols.” They were cosmic hymns. But, then, the creeds became a kind of gauntlet. People could only join the church by repeatedly reciting specific words. No wonder the church became a flock of parrots! Councils used torture and exclusion to protect the purity of the creeds much like howler monkeys who have shouted down their opponents imagine they have won a debate.

I am against creeds so long as they make hypothetical truth claims, or when they become toll gates through which one enters community at the price of one’s reason, but I am in favor of creeds so long as they lead us to the song of our own heart.

Creeds should be love songs that help communities imagine what the world would look like through the eyes of universal love. Creeds are not to be recited individually as if reading an encyclopedia, but together as if reading a shared love poem to life. Despite their particular imagery, creeds are not the property of any sect, but are revelations of our one human family sharing one world.

Creeds are the noble but hopeless task of putting universal love into words.