Dorothee Soelle’s Creed in Contrast to the Nicene Creed

Earlier this week, I criticized the Nicene creed for leaving out the teachings of Jesus. Quite a lacuna, I would say! 

Dorothee Soelle in Bern, 1985. Wikimedia Commons.

I recommend the following creed gifted to us by the late feminist theologian, Dorothee Soelle, who has written substantively on Meister Eckhart and on the Beguines. 

Notice how, unlike the Nicene creed, it is less about a list of dogmas about Christ, but a call to action in Jesus’ name. An invitation to follow and imitate Jesus, rather than argue over his nature. It is a 21st century creed that recognizes evolution and democracy and responsibility. This creed is born from a woman and mother, not from fourth-century bishops gathered under the eye of an Emperor.

Credo

I believe in god
who did not create an immutable world
a thing incapable of change
who does not govern according to eternal laws
that remain inviolate
or according to a natural order
of rich and poor
of the expert and the ignorant
of rulers and subjects

I believe in god
who willed conflict in life
and wanted us to change the status quo
through work
through our politics.

Pastor speaks out against Trump, at God’s direction. And he doesn’t hold back! CNN

I believe in jesus christ
who was right when he
like each of us
just another individual who couldn’t beat city hall
worked to change the status quo
and was destroyed

looking at him I see
how our intelligence is crippled
our imagination stifled
our efforts wasted
because we do not live as he did
every day I am afraid
that he died in vain
because he is buried in our churches
because we have betrayed his revolution
in our obedience to authority
and our fear of it

I believe in jesus christ
who rises again and again in our lives
so that we will be free
from prejudice and arrogance
from fear and hate
and carry on his revolution
and make way for his kingdom

“Helping the Poor.” Visuals by Rick. The People Speak! on Flckr.

I believe in the spirit
that jesus brought into the world
in the brotherhood of all nations

I believe it is up to us
what our earth becomes
a valley of tears starvation and tyranny
or a city of god

I believe in a just peace
that can be achieved in the possibility of a meaningful life
for all people

I believe this world of god’s
has a future.

Amen.*


*Dorothee Soelle, Revolutionary Patience, trans. Rita and Robert Kimber (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1977), pp. 22f.

Adapted from Matthew Fox, Christian Mystics: 365 Readings & Meditations, pp. 269-272.

See also, Matthew Fox, Chapter Five, “Liberated and Liberating Sisters: Meister Eckhart Meets Dorothee Soelle, the Beguines Mechtild of Magdeburg and Marguerite Porete, and Julian of Norwich,” in Fox, Meister Eckhart: A Mystic-Warrior for Our Times, pp. 77-96.

Banner image: “Sermon on the Mount.” Painting by Andrei Mironov. Wikimedia Commons


Queries for Contemplation

Do you find many differences between this and the Nicene Creed? Do you find it filling in the gaps that are missing from the former?


Recommended Reading

Christian Mystics: 365 Readings & Meditations

As Matthew Fox notes, when an aging Albert Einstein was asked if he had any regrets, he replied, “I wish I had read more of the mystics earlier in my life.” The 365 writings in Christian Mystics represent a wide-ranging sampling of these readings for modern-day seekers of all faiths — or no faith. The visionaries quoted range from Julian of Norwich to Martin Luther King, Jr., from Thomas Merton to Dorothee Soelle and Thomas Berry.
“Our world is in crisis, and we need road maps that can ground us in wisdom, inspire us to action, and help us gather our talents in service of compassion and justice.  This revolutionary book does just that.  Matthew Fox takes some of the most profound spiritual teachings of the West and translates them into practical daily mediations.  Study and practice these teachings.  Take what’s in this book and teach it to the youth because the new generation cannot afford to suffer the spirit and ethical illiteracy of the past.” — Adam Bucko, spiritual activist and co-founder of the Reciprocity Foundation for Homeless Youth.

Meister Eckhart: A Mystic-Warrior For Our Time

While Matthew Fox recognizes that Meister Eckhart has influenced thinkers throughout history, he also wants to introduce Eckhart to today’s activists addressing contemporary crises. Toward that end, Fox creates dialogues between Eckhart and Carl Jung, Thich Nhat Hanh, Rabbi Heschel, Black Elk, Karl Marx, Rumi, Adrienne Rich, Dorothee Soelle, David Korten, Anita Roddick, Lily Yeh, M.C. Richards, and many others.
“Matthew Fox is perhaps the greatest writer on Meister Eckhart that has ever existed. (He) has successfully bridged a gap between Eckhart as a shamanistic personality and Eckhart as a post-modern mentor to the Inter-faith movement, to reveal just how cosmic Eckhart really is, and how remarkably relevant to today’s religious crisis! ” — Steven Herrmann, Author of Spiritual Democracy: The Wisdom of Early American Visionaries for the Journey Forward

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5 thoughts on “Dorothee Soelle’s Creed in Contrast to the Nicene Creed”

  1. Avatar

    I believe in the family of God whose image and likeness the families of living things on Earth were made in. I believe in the Truth that Jesus is the Life we all share in an equal and equitable way. I believe in the Spirit whose consciousness is in all matter. Hydrogen knows it’s power to destroy then and now. It also knows it’s capacity along with oxygen in the service of living things. I believe in the unconditional service life ha with all interdependent matter. I believe it is by following Life in imitation of its service to ourselves and others is the Way we are doing the will of the family of God on Earth as it is in Paradise. The beliefs are observable in following the Tree of Life to its fullness and abundance of Life we all yearn for. Our journey includes grown Food the Body and Blood of Christ and unconditional Forgiveness or seven times seventy for all, as we all participate in injustice, The Sin of the World.

  2. Avatar

    Response – 1. yes; 2. some.

    We can all rewrite prayers and creeds as we understand them and that make them meaningful to us. The important aspect is to contemplate the prayer, the creed and determine where it resonates with us or not, where we are conflicted by statements or in embrace of them. Our faith journey is meant to take us into a deeper experience, the deeper understanding of the Mystery. We need not take everything at face value when someone asks us to recite, for example, that ‘we believe in one holy and apostolic church’, without consideration of context, limitations, restrictions and parameters. By saying that ‘we believe’, it often times tells ourselves to move on with a potential stagnant and fixed viewpoint, and then we can miss the creative and life expanding ‘truth’ still hidden in the Mystery. — BB.

  3. Avatar

    Yes, there are many gaps! In a previous recent DM video Matthew, you reminded us that when Christianity was recognized officially by the empire in the fourth century and became an institutional church, including the Nicene Creed, the true spiritual message of Jesus and Christ began to be lost to society by another patriarchal religious institution. Fortunately, the mystical spiritual tradition of the Cosmic Christ within Us has been kept alive by many past and present mystics, saints, and common good people of Faith, inspite of societal oppression and personal suffering in their lives. God’s Spirit of LOVE~TRUTH~PEACE~JUSTICE~HEALING~STRENGTH~COMPASSION~DIVERSE ONENESS… Is Always PRESENT, ALIVE, and EVOLVING within Our Hearts~Souls and among Us, seen and unseen in the spiritual realms…

  4. Avatar
    Michael Dawkins

    Thank you Matthew for sharing the creed of Dorothee Soelle. It is indeed a call to follow Jesus and embrace all.

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