Repetition and Faith

Repetition and Faith

I found this story from Kathleen Norris posted at Wittingshire and wanted to remember it. Also, thought maybe someone else might like it too.


Worship itself thus became the major instrument of my conversion…. I recently read an article that depicted a heated exchange between a seminary student and an Orthodox theologian at Yale Divinity School. The theologian had given a talk on the history of the development of the Christian creeds. The student’s original question was centered on belief: “What can one do,” he asked, “when one finds it impossible to affirm certain tenets of the Creed?”

The priest responded, “Well, you can just say it. It’s not that hard to master. With a little effort, most can learn it by heart.”

To learn something by heart is a concept more in tune with the ancient world than with our own, and the student, apparently feeling he had been misunderstood, asked with some exasperation, “What am I to do … when I have difficulty affirming parts of the Creed—like the Virgin Birth?” And he got the same response. “You just keep saying it. It will come to you eventually.”

The student raised his voice: “How can I with integrity affirm a creed in which I do not believe?” And the priest replied, “It’s not your creed, it’s our creed,” meaning the Creed of the entire Christian church. I can picture the theologian shrugging, as only the Orthodox can shrug, carrying so lightly the thousand-plus years of their liturgical tradition: “Eventually it may come to you,” he told the student. “For some, it takes longer than for others.”


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