A Day in the Life of a Super Hero

Is a doctrinal creed that outlines a church’s belief a good thing or a bad thing?

I heard mention of a something termed “the emerging church” this morning on Christian radio, how it threatens to corrupt traditional Christian teachings.

My first question is who defines what this “emerging church” thing is? Matt Slick, in his article “What is the Emerging Church?” captures the dilemma with a couple of statements. “Obviously, it is difficult to define precisely what is emerging and what is not.” and “There is no official single Emerging Church or Emerging Church doctrine, so there is no unified structure to examine.”

In his conclusion he expressed his concern that “Even though there are some pastors in the Emerging Church Movement that are true to Scripture, the movement as a whole needs to stick to the essentials of the Christian faith; otherwise, in spite of its proclamation to renew Christianity afresh, it will become stale and heretical.”
(see article What is the Emerging Church)

“…stick to the essentials of the Christian faith”? Exactly what are these essentials? Where are they defined if not in scripture? Who defines scripture if not the spirit of God (2 Pet 1:20)? Which pastor of which Christian denomination has authority to interpret scripture for those being “tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming”? (Eph 4:14)

How is Matt’s fear of encroaching beliefs corrupting faith in his church different from Mormon Apostle Bruce R. McConkie addressing BYU students with, “gaining a special, personal relationship with Christ… is both improper and perilous”, and instead, “the proper course for all of us is to stay in the mainstream of the Church”? (Our Relationship with the Lord – BYU Speeches, Bruce R. McConkie, 2 March 1982)
From his talk I honestly have no idea what McConkie means by his counsel to “stay in the course charted by the Church”. What is that course, exactly? Where is it defined?

Again, Matt Slick reveals what I feel is at the root of the problem. He lists one of the problematic “Emerging Church Characteristics” as “A de-emphasis on absolutes and doctrinal creeds”

You see, without a creed or statement of beliefs, who can decide what falls outside of established doctrine or practices? Yet, as soon as you create a creed or statement of beliefs, insofar as you fail to encompass all the mind of God within that statement, you place a limit on what can be accepted as “true doctrine” once you step outside that box.

Joseph Smith was very much against a Mormon Creed. He remarked that the Methodists “have creeds which a man must believe or be kicked out of their church. I want the liberty to believe as I please, it feels so good not to be tramelled. It does not prove that a man is not a good man because he errs in doctrine.” (Rough Stone Rolling, Bushman) (History of the Church, vol 5, pg 340)

Joseph felt that creeds set limits, “and say ‘hitherto shalt thou come & no further’ — which I cannot subscribe to.” He explained that the difference between the Christian sects and The Latter Day Saints was that the sectarians “were all circumscribed by some peculiar creed, which deprived its members the privilege of believing anything not contained therein; whereas the Latter Day Saints had no creed, but are ready to believe all true principles that exist, as they are made manifest from time to time.” (Rough Stone Rolling, Bushman, p. 285)

So, is a doctrinal creed a good thing or a bad thing? Ask yourself what motivation is there in creating a creed if not to seek to control to some degree how others should behave or believe?

Personally I feel the dangers of establishing a creed is limiting and more dangerous than allowing the scriptures to speak for themselves. Let truth manifest itself where and when it may, inside or outside any emerging church, established religion, book of scripture or statement of belief. In the end, for each of us, our path to God is individual and deeply personal.

To me this was just inspiring. A true real life super hero (heroine?).

In the comments for this YouTube video I read things like,

“Awesome paintings. Poor reasoning.”


“they are just faking this.”

I have to admit, where this is a news story my inclination is to be skeptical myself. Every time I watch the news I try to ask these questions (that I learned in Simpleology):

  • Is this information presented in such a way that begs an emotional response?
  • Will an emotional response on my part be useful?
  • Is it possible that this is not a complete picture?

Although I’m sure this story is incomplete, and it makes a cool popular story for CNN, I am still impressed with this girl and her incredible talent.

Believe what you may, from what I’ve seen I choose to believe that this girl is inspired and her talent is divine.

Kids think Dad is a hero when he shows calmness and demonstrates first aid skills when dealing with accidents at family camp.

Family Camp was memorable last week. We didn’t venture far from home, we ended up going to our favorite spot up Green Canyon a few miles from where we live. Just the experience of camping, even though it’s close, was exciting for the kids, and less stressful for Dad. It was especially nice being close when two of the kids ended up having to be run down to the local clinic for stitches from camping accidents.

I found the contrast between these two stories instructive, as it relates to forgiveness.
[In my children’s book, Little Ip and The Land of Contrasts, I talk about the beauty of forgiveness]

Story 1

Published May 2, 2010, Kym Klass

THE EXTRA MILE: Confronting attacker in court provides empowerment, closure

Kym relates her feelings about facing in court, the man who attacked and raped her. She carried the fear from this experience for over 18 years, and it took an immense amount of strength to bring herself into the courtroom to confront him and make a statement.

“Forgiveness doesn’t forget fear.” Kym says. “Sometimes that fear is immense enough to make a person feel broken. I don’t sit here and forgive and forget. I’m here to tell you it is hard to imagine feeling more afraid than I do right now.”

“I had a mix of emotions that morning” Kym relates. “…from feeling safe running with him in the same city (albeit behind bars), to his image from the courtroom pounding in my head. From his apology to me from the witness stand in court to his voice breaking when he said he had no idea he alone could cause that fear in me.
From the way he looked at me, to how he wouldn’t look at me when I read my statement.
I bought into none of it.”

“That next morning, I felt an empowerment I haven’t felt — ever — over this. If I’ve ever wanted to make a difference, my time in court might have been it. If I can keep him off the streets to keep other female runners safe, then I can only pray I’ve done that.”

My heart goes out to Kym. This has to have been a terrible burden to bear for so long.

Story 2

Published May 1, 2010

As Mumbai Trial Finishes, Wife and Mother Still Forgives.

Kia Scherr  of Nelson County in Central Virginia hopes that she will get to meet face-to-face with the Pakistani national charged in the November 2008 Islamic terrorist attacks in Mumbai that killed her husband and daughter.

“It was a horrible experience to go through and, in some ways, I died a little bit, too,” Kia Scherr said. “But it made me look at myself and how I wanted to respond, who I really am and what I wanted to be. I don’t want revenge. I’d rather retaliate with love, kindness and forgiveness with the same intensity of the terrorists, but in the opposite extreme.”

When it was over, the father and daughter were found under a cafeteria table, shot dead.

With a yearlong trial ended and the court on the verge of a verdict, Scherr says she hopes to meet with Kasab.

“I would like to talk with him, show him forgiveness and compassion, something other than the violence he has known, as a response,” Scherr said. “He was filmed showing remorse for his actions and when he saw his colleagues in the morgue. He said he’d been lied to. If only we could find a way to make this young man embrace life instead of death, to speak out against the brainwashing he received and reveal the truth, perhaps we could save more lives.”


In making this comparison I mean no disrespect in any way to Kym. She has suffered greatly and deserves no judgment from me or anyone else for her feelings or actions. At the same time, one may just as easily judge Scherr for trying to hinder proper justice to a terrorist killer.

The contrast of these two stories begs the question, why does forgiveness seem to be more possible to do for some and not for others? Was carrying an emotional burden for over a decade as much of a choice for Kym as forgiving a terrorist is for Scherr?

Please share your comments below. God bless those of us who may find ourselves on either end the question.

In my children’s book, Little Ip and the Land of Contrasts, I introduce villains into the story to help show that the villains in our lives may well be part of a greater plan to help us learn lessons in this life. I don’t know what the lessons are from this latest story I ran across yesterday, but I believe in looking for the good that can come from it.

I am appalled at the recent release of footage of a US air crew callously killing innocent civilians. but I admire Ethan McCord and Josh Stieber for their efforts toward reconciliation and responsibility.

“Please accept our apology…”, they write. “our sorrow, our care, and our dedication to change from the inside out … Our hearts are open to hearing how we can take any steps to support you through the pain that we have caused.

Read their full letter here.