October 30, 2005

A Confirmand's Faith Statement

Filed under: Random Stuff — Bob Gifford @ 8:03 pm

My fifteen year-old son was confirmed in our Lutheran church today, and I am a very proud father.

When I was confirmed many years ago, we had to memorize the Apostles Creed, the Ten Commandments, the books of the Bible, and I don’t remember what else. When we were confirmed, the Pastor quizzed us in front of the whole congregation, having us recite one of these from memory. This has long been the traditional coming-of-age trial for Lutheran confirmands — worrying about what you’ll be asked to recite and whether you’ll be able to remember it. Looking back on it, I don’t really know how that demonstrated that we were ready to become full-fledged members of the priesthood of all believers.

Fortunately for my son, things have changed, at least in our church. The confirmands were asked to write a faith statement, their own personal credo. In a dinner with parents and godparents Saturday night, the confirmands read their faith statements, and our Pastor read excerpts to the congregation as his sermon today. Each of the statements was unique, personal and touching in their own way. This is a much more meaningful way to demonstrate to the congregation that they are ready to assume the rights and responsibilities of adulthood in the church’s eyes.

My son has given me permission to post his faith statement in full. My wife and I provided no input to this whatsoever, and my son wouldn’t even let us see it until he was done. I have edited it lightly for grammar and spelling, but otherwise these words are all his.

What My Faith Means to Me…

I am proud to say that I am a Lutheran. My faith is very big in my family. My dad spends a lot of time on his blog, and talks about his beliefs. Something that I tell my friends when we are about to do something crazy and probably get in trouble for, is that if they want to see how much trouble I am going to get in then read my dad’s blog. I am very devoted to my faith. I was baptized when I was a baby and have been singing songs in Sunday school ever since. Then I added on a new addition to Sunday school which is, of course, confirmation. For two years I have been going to confirmation, and it has brought me great new insights on things I had never really thought about.

There are many things that my faith means to me. As Lutherans we believe that everyone is welcome. This is something that I will take and use not just in my church but also outside of the church. Inside of the church my faith means that anyone who wants to sit in church is welcome. It is amazing how a homeless man can come in here just wearing rags and having a cart of cans, and yet we treat him like he was no different than a wealthy businessman. Some churches would tell him to leave because he is unworthy of being in this church and in front of God. Everyone is welcome to come in front of the altar and kneel before God. Outside of the church I am not going to automatically judge someone by the way they look or by the color of their skin. I am going to base it on what their attitude is towards me. My faith means that you shouldn’t cast out homosexuals from the church and say God does not love you because you are gay, it means accepting them for who they are and telling them that they are welcome. My faith means that when you are baptized that you can have any ordinary sink water and use it, and know that it only matters that it represents the Lord accepting you into the congregation. My faith means that we follow the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

A theory that I believe illustrates how we are all created equal is that we all are part of God’s huge art gallery. God made us in his image and we are his work of art. Now if one of us was to look at someone and say that they were fat, stupid, or ugly, wouldn’t that be the same as calling God’s art fat, stupid or ugly? So when you call someone ugly by their skin color or the way they look you are calling not just the person ugly, but you are calling God’s magnificent piece of art ugly.

My faith also has to do a lot with school. It means I will choose a Christian based school over any ordinary public school. It means I will have a bible class every day and include chapel, worship, and other bible studies. It means I will memorize bible verses or study God’s word and not just remember them but put them to use.

My faith is a big part of relationships. My faith means that I would make plans to go down to my grandma’s funeral and not just cry because she is gone but rejoice for the life she has lived. It means being glad because God is having a huge party and the guest of honor is her. It means she will always be watching me from a place where she is free from pain and suffering. My faith means that when I am sad or depressed that I will always have someone to talk to. It means that when someone in my family is sad that I can lay in my bed for hours and have a nice conversation with God. It means when your mother is in the hospital you visit her and tell her it is alright because there is someone watching over you. It means telling your friend that you are there for them when their parents are divorced.

My faith also has to do with the choices I make. It means I will not drink until I am old enough. It means I will not do drugs ever. It means that I will choose to go to a confirmation camp or youth gathering. So this is what my faith means to me. It is what I live by and what I will use for my whole life. I thank you [the church] for helping me grow in the family of the church and to become the man I am today. Amen

8 Comments

  1. Kudos!!

    Comment by wildwest — October 31, 2005 @ 5:35 am

  2. First of all, let me say that I think you’re son’s statement of faith is excellent. You must be proud, and with good reason. Thank you for sharing his thoughts with us, and thank him for allowing you to do so.

    I think that the change in approaches to confirmation represents an excellent change. One of the things that bothers me about religious education (and education in general) is the emphasis placed on rote memorization — often to the exclusion of everything else. While this approach is doubtlessly invaluable to some things (such as learning your multiplication tables or learning to spell vocabulary words), it only takes you so far. After all, coming to understand how to apply the information memorized is an essential part of the learning process. Without it, the memorized information is little more than “useless trivia.”

    This is especially true in matters of faith. What good is learning the apostle’s creed, the ten commandments, and other such “data” if you don’t also learn how to make your faith personal and live it. Faith needs to be more than “head knowledge.” And it seems to me that the changing approach to confirmation goes a long way to acknowledge and integrate that need into the process.

    Comment by Jarred — October 31, 2005 @ 7:22 am

  3. Religion: Moving from memory to life application

    I was just reading one of the liberal Christian blogs I like to keep up with, and discovered his recent entry about his son’s confirmation in the Lutheran church. First of all, I’d encourage everyone to check out his son’s…

    Trackback by The Musings of a Confused Man — October 31, 2005 @ 8:09 am

  4. Required Reading

    Required Reading
    Catch up on these important books this Christmas—and be sure to share.
    By Bob of iamachristiantoo.org Early this year, God’s Politics by Jim Wallis was the first of its kind: an authentically Christian yet unabashedly

    Trackback by CrossLeft — December 14, 2005 @ 9:58 pm

  5. I am 14 and i am in my last 2 weeks of confirmation. Actually,
    i am working on a faith statement as i write this. I searched
    the internet briefly before finding this blog. I simply wanted
    to see how others interpreted their Lutheran religion. I realized
    that your son and i see eye to eye. As i read your son’s faith
    statement,it was amazing,as if his words were coming directly from
    my thoughts. It was a comforting thing to see the meaning of
    Lutheran faith stays the same even across the miles apart we live.

    Comment by Chelsie — October 18, 2006 @ 1:52 pm

  6. Chelsie –

    Thanks for your comment! I passed it along to my son, and he was very happy to hear what you had to say, and glad he could help you with your faith statement.

    God bless your and your confirmation!

    Comment by Bob — October 19, 2006 @ 8:49 pm

  7. Hey I’m 15 and my confirmation is next Sunday. I didn’t realise what confirmees had to do in the past
    before i read this article. I have it pretty easy compared to what u had to do. My Lutheran church just
    asked us to write a faith statement, but keeping a bit more traditional we were to write it in the
    same sort of style as the Apostle’s Creed. Basically we just say what God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit
    mean to us. Next Sunday all my confirmation group will be reading parts of our faith statement
    (we have 15 people so it will take forever if we all read our whole things). I can’t wait it will be
    so great. Well i think I’ve taken up enough room here but if u want i can post up my faith statement,
    if u do just shout.

    Comment by Chelsea — November 20, 2006 @ 12:49 am

  8. hey i get conforemed on agust 20 but i have to roght a state ment of faith and i do not no how to. so can u help me.
    jill

    Comment by jill — May 21, 2007 @ 5:31 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Powered by WordPress