This core set of ideas explains our understanding of how God interacts with the world. With it we train leaders to connect Christian spirituality with social justice. Rather than a boundary to keep people out, this statement explains the central concepts around which our community is forming.
We believe that love is the most powerful force in the universe. In fact, we affirm that God is love and that this love extends to everyone everywhere. Though human beings are distinct from God, we have the capacity to interact with this source of love.
God lies beyond explanation and description. The best we can do is use phrases such as “the essence of what is ultimate,” “the very ground of being,” and “the eternal I AM.” The love that humans experience is a reflection of the love at the center of this one God, a mysterious relationship consisting of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Our universe has its origin in this loving God, who called the creation “good.” As a part of this unfolding enterprise, humans have the task of reflecting God’s image. The more that people reflect God’s loving nature, the more human they truly are.
When people feel that resources and opportunities are scarce, their selfishness often ignites conflict. The first people–as do all people–doubted the extent of God’s love. Their selfish reactions fractured their relationships with God, each other, their environment, and themselves. It is the fear of ultimate scarcity–death–that drives people to become less and less human.
God’s response to the problem of evil is to enter into this world and suffer along with us. Jesus of Nazareth came from the community of ancient Israel to embody God’s love. Stories of his virgin birth, sinless life, and miraculous deeds signal his identity as the Christ, or God’s chosen one. While his deity shows us exactly what God is like, his humanity shows us what it means to be truly human.
Jesus’s primary message–the good news–is that our world does not have to be this way. He came announcing the arrival here and now of God’s kingdom–a way of relating in which sacrificial love rights all wrongs. And that is why everyone everywhere is invited to trust Jesus, own up to their brokenness, and experience reconciliation.
Trapped in a scarcity mentality, people rejected Jesus’s message of grace and unjustly executed him for religious heresy and political rebellion. However, God vindicated Jesus’s innocence and message by raising him to new life, proving that death does not get the last word. This event started a process of rescue that heals both individuals and the social systems in which they live.
Community is at the center of God’s being, and a community has formed around Jesus and his message of hope. This congregation recalls Jesus’s sacrificial love by eating a communion meal together and celebrates new family members through water baptism. Like any strong family, a healthy congregation encourages diversity while cultivating unity.
Experiencing God’s love compels us to express love back to God and address the brokenness all around us. Instead of blaming other groups for this brokenness, we invite people to trust Jesus and be equipped for works of justice. Because this project is beyond our capabilities, we rely on God’s Spirit for empowerment.
Seeing lives being changed and wrongs being righted builds our anticipation that Jesus will return to reconcile all things to himself. Because grace is never pushy, God will honor the desire to embrace the source of love or remain completely separated from it. Those who trust Jesus and his message can anticipate the utter end of scarcity and death–a resurrected life in a newly restored creation.
God inspired the authors of the Bible to write poems, stories, accounts, and letters that explain their growing understanding of what is ultimate. Interpreting this ancient collection is an ongoing process that invites readers to participate in its unfolding story. We find value in the entire work–difficult passages and all–by exploring what it originally meant and how it can be meaningful to us.