Sea Fever

BY JOHN MASEFIELD

I must go down to the seas again, to the
lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer
her by;
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and
the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey
dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call
of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be
denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white
clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and
the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the
vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way, where
the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing
fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the
long trick’s over.

The only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a bunch of good people with bricks:

LOCAL//TEXAS
Shooter stoned to death with bricks after opening fire at Fort Worth party, police say
Michael Williams, The Dallas Morning News
July 26, 2021Updated: July 26, 2021 2:05 p.m.

FORT WORTH, Texas — Party attendees beat a man to death with bricks early Monday after he opened fire at a Fort Worth party, police said. Another person was shot and killed and three were injured.
Fort Worth police were called to the 5600 block of Shiloh Drive about 1 a.m. Witnesses told police that a small gathering was being held in a backyard. One of the attendees became upset and left the gathering, before returning with another person. Both started arguing with other partygoers, authorities said.
Police did not describe what caused the initial altercation.
The party attendee pulled a gun and shot one person, authorities said. The victim was not seriously injured.
Other people at the party chased the shooter, authorities said. While the shooter turned and fired at the crowd, a group picked up landscaping bricks and started throwing them at the shooter.
The shooter eventually ended up on the ground — it’s not clear whether he tripped or was tackled — and continued shooting. One person was killed by that round of gunfire, and another was injured, authorities said.
“The shooter was struck multiple times with at least one landscaping brick and was pronounced dead at the scene,” authorities said.
Police have not released the identities of anybody involved, nor have they said whether any charges will be filed. A handgun was recovered by police.
https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/texas/article/Shooter-beaten-to-death-with-bricks-after-opening-16340713.php

Sonnet 1: From fairest creatures we desire increase

BY WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

From fairest creatures we desire increase,
That thereby beauty’s rose might never die,
But as the riper should by time decease,
His tender heir might bear his memory;
But thou, contracted to thine own bright eyes,
Feed’st thy light’s flame with self-substantial fuel,
Making a famine where abundance lies,
Thyself thy foe, to thy sweet self too cruel.
Thou that art now the world’s fresh ornament
And only herald to the gaudy spring,
Within thine own bud buriest thy content,
And, tender churl, mak’st waste in niggarding.
Pity the world, or else this glutton be,
To eat the world’s due, by the grave and thee.

Fishing on the Susquehanna in July

BY BILLY COLLINS

I have never been fishing on the Susquehanna
or on any river for that matter
to be perfectly honest.

Not in July or any month
have I had the pleasure—if it is a pleasure—
of fishing on the Susquehanna.

I am more likely to be found
in a quiet room like this one—
a painting of a woman on the wall,

a bowl of tangerines on the table—
trying to manufacture the sensation
of fishing on the Susquehanna.

There is little doubt
that others have been fishing
on the Susquehanna,

rowing upstream in a wooden boat,
sliding the oars under the water
then raising them to drip in the light.

But the nearest I have ever come to
fishing on the Susquehanna
was one afternoon in a museum in Philadelphia

when I balanced a little egg of time
in front of a painting
in which that river curled around a bend

under a blue cloud-ruffled sky,
dense trees along the banks,
and a fellow with a red bandanna

sitting in a small, green
flat-bottom boat
holding the thin whip of a pole.

That is something I am unlikely
ever to do, I remember
saying to myself and the person next to me.

Then I blinked and moved on
to other American scenes
of haystacks, water whitening over rocks,

even one of a brown hare
who seemed so wired with alertness
I imagined him springing right out of the frame.

 from Picnic, Lightning. Copyright © 1998

Lone Star

By David Wright Faladé July 5, 2021

My stepdad, a deputy sheriff, had to transport a prisoner to the penitentiary; my mom thought I should ride along.

My stepdad was a taciturn man and a disciplinarian. He’d grown up in Jim Crow South Carolina and had found a way out through the military, where he was awarded medals for his service in Vietnam. When he retired, he took our family to Borger, a Texas Panhandle town of fifteen thousand whose sheriff had recruited him to be a deputy, the first Black one. We moved into a three-bedroom ranch in Keeler Heights, a white neighborhood. Most of Borger’s few Black residents lived across town, in the Flats. This was in 1977.

He sometimes had to transport prisoners from the county jail to the state penitentiary, ten hours away, in Huntsville. One summer, my mom, wanting to boost the tenuous relationship between my stepdad and me, suggested that I accompany him on a trip. As an enticement, she said that we would spend the weekend in Dallas on the return, as she and my stepdad had done when she’d gone with him. But I wanted nothing to do with it. Vacation was ending. I was sixteen, and my remaining free time felt precious. Plus, my favorite TV show, “Baa Baa Black Sheep,” aired on one of the nights we’d be away.

My mom insisted. I was going.

At five in the morning, I waited on a wooden bench in the Hutchinson County Courthouse while my stepdad collected a prisoner from the adjoining jail. They returned together, my stepdad in his Stetson and his beige uniform, the prisoner shackled and in a white jumpsuit. I felt a jolt of surprise. I don’t know why, but I hadn’t expected him to be Black. I knew that African-American incarceration rates were disproportionately high—what Black kid didn’t? But Borger was so white. It just hadn’t occurred to me that the prisoner we were transporting would be one of us.

Upon learning his name—I’ll call him Walter—I realized I already knew him, in a roundabout way. He was the grown brother of a classmate. I also knew him otherwise. Everyone in town did. He’d been convicted of rape.

We drove in silence through darkness, Walter in the back seat of my stepdad’s cruiser, a mesh partition separating us. With the dawning day, the mesas and arroyos of the Caprock Escarpment revealing themselves, Walter got chatty. He called my stepdad Ed and complimented him on the respect he’d earned around town and asked if he aspired to one day become sheriff. To my surprise, my stepdad was open-faced and chatty, too. Looking into the rearview mirror, he responded candidly to Walter’s probing and laughed at his quips.

Before long, Walter began peppering me with questions: what grade was I in, did I like sports. I told him I played football, and he said that he had as well, that his younger brother did now and was the star of his team.

“I know Franklin,” I said, turning toward him. “He’s a friend.” I think I wanted him to feel shame—sitting shackled in the back of a police cruiser as he was, for the reason that he was. I had two sisters.

But he blurted, “You know Franklin!,” and set off on a series of anecdotes, lauding his baby brother.

We ate lunch at the Dairy Queen of some small Texas town not unlike our own. Though we were obviously unknown, the cruiser and the Stetson, the jumpsuit and the shackles made our story plain. I pretended not to notice the stares. Walter himself seemed blissfully unaware, dipping fried steak fingers into a Styrofoam ramekin of cream gravy, jabbering on and tittering.

The car went silent again as the green road signs announced the short distance to Huntsville. Walter sat very still and faced straight ahead. “Come on, now, Ed,” he pleaded. “You don’t have to do this.”

My stepdad held his gaze in the rearview mirror. “You know that I do, Walter.”

The quiet became a palpable thing—heavy and engulfing—as the penitentiary came into view. The red brick walls weren’t high, just a few stories, but they seemed to loom over everything around. My stepdad pulled the cruiser past a checkpoint and into a hangar-size and brightly lit but nearly empty space. The intake center. Guards milled about, all of them white. One opened the back door and pulled Walter out. My stepdad went off with another, to fill out paperwork.

Through the passenger-side window, I watched the guard unshackle Walter and order him to strip, others gathering around. With the white jumpsuit at his feet, he looked even darker and was solid—cut. The guard pointed him toward a line of hanging showerheads, out in the open, along a far wall. Walter covered himself as best he could, standing under the cascading water. The guards encircling him stared.

On the highway back, a knot deep within me would not release. I felt anger, and something more. Someone had betrayed someone else. I just wasn’t sure who. ♦

Published in the print edition of the July 12 & 19, 2021, issue.

Nothing Is Far

BY ROBERT FRANCIS

Though I have never caught the word
Of God from any calling bird,
I hear all that the ancients heard.

Though I have seen no deity
Enter or leave a twilit tree,
I see all that the seers see.

A common stone can still reveal
Something not stone, not seen, yet real.
What may a common stone conceal?

Nothing is far that once was near.
Nothing is hid that once was clear.
Nothing was God that is not here.

Here is the bird, the tree, the stone.
Here in the sun I sit alone
Between the known and the unknown.

from Collected Poems, 1936-1976. Copyright © 1976 by Robert Francis.  

Driving Lessons

I thought I had lots of fears—thunderstorms, forest fires, bears—but these were not the right kind of fears for driving.

By Margaret Atwood

July 5, 2021

It was 1960. I was twenty. It was suggested that it was time I learned to drive. Driving skills were not considered as essential then as they are now—people, especially young people, didn’t automatically have cars. Still, knowing how to drive could be useful. My father would teach me, said he.

Easier said than done. After I’d mistaken the gas pedal for the brake and almost rammed his car into a stone wall, this driving plan was quietly dropped. No tears shed by me: I had other things on my mind, such as existentialism, moon goddesses, and the writing of tortured poetry.

My next attempt was in 1964. This time, the heroic would-be driving teacher was a very nice boyfriend. His father was a used-car dealer known as Frank the Pirate, so this boyfriend had a Frank the Pirate special to drive. (The car later exploded.)

After three sessions—enjoyed by me with merry glee, endured by the nice boyfriend with white knuckles and clenched teeth—he gave up. “I can’t teach you,” he said. “You have no fears.”

This was news to me. I thought I had lots of fears—thunderstorms, forest fires, bears—but these were not the right kind of fears for driving. I was not afraid of other drivers, of the edges of roads, or of huge chunks of steel whizzing toward me at insane speeds.

Again, no tears shed. I didn’t have enough money to own a car, not even a Frank the Pirate special, so why worry?

Jump thirteen years, to 1977. I had a life partner—Graeme Gibson—and an infant. We were living on a farm, shared with a Noah’s ark of animals and birds. The animals included Finn the Dog, a genial Irish wolfhound. One day, Finn the Dog tried to jump a wire fence and got his hind legs caught in the wire. Graeme went out with the wire clippers to cut him loose, and Finn, in a panic, grabbed hold of the nearest support item, which was Graeme’s head. He did this with his teeth, as dogs lack hands. Graeme finished wire-clipping, released Finn, and then drove himself to the hospital—twenty miles away—with the blood pouring down. Finn had missed his jugular by inches.

“That’s it,” I said. “I’m learning to drive.” This time, I hired a professional with nerves of steel. When I was testing those nerves, he chewed gum very fast. When I was doing well, the gum-chewing slowed. I took the whole menu: defensive driving, skidding in snow, black ice. There were a few episodes that were not calming to the family, such as me in our truck, speeding downhill toward the house with my two teen-age stepsons yelling, “The emergency brake!” For some reason, I could not locate the regular brake. But, despite these setbacks, I got my license. I was pleased with myself: it seemed I now had the right kind of fears. I was a responsible adult.

For years, I had an accident-free record. According to my sister, I was so cautious I was a hazard, as I would slow down in odd places, on the lookout for lunatics prepared to crash into me. But then we moved to a city and there was less need for driving, and someone pinched my driver’s license from a changing room at Macy’s, and I never replaced it.

Learning to drive did make me feel more grownup, while it lasted. But what about unlearning it? Have I regressed? I can still drive a motorboat, a skill acquired in teenhood, and I’ve recently added a four-wheeled electric scooter to my repertoire, so all is not lost. These days, I’m aiming my inappropriate fearlessness in other scary directions, such as chainsawing and the writing of my memoirs. ♦

Published in the print edition of the July 12 & 19, 2021, issue.
Margaret Atwood, a winner of the 2019 Booker Prize, for “The Testaments,” will publish a new essay collection, “Burning Questions,” in 2022.

Growing Pains July 12 & 19, 2021 Issue New Yorket

JANE

by George Bilgere

Jane, the old woman across the street,
is lugging big black trash bags to the curb.
It’s snowing hard, and the bags are turning white,
gradually disappearing in the storm.

Jane is getting ready to put her house on the market
and move into a home of some sort. A facility.
She’s just too old to keep the place going anymore,
and as we chat about this on the sidewalk
I’m thinking, I’m so glad this isn’t going to happen to me.

It seems like a terrible fate, to drag out your trash bags
and then head for a facility somewhere.
And all the worse to be old in a facility. But then,
that’s the whole reason you go there in the first place.

But the great thing about being me, I’m thinking,
as I continue my morning walk around the block,
is that I’m not going to a facility of any sort.

That’s for other people. I intend to go on
pretty much as I always have, enjoying life,
taking my morning walk, then coffee
and the newspaper, music and a good book.

Europe vaguely in the summers.
Then another year just like this one,
and so forth and so on.

Why change this? I have no intention of doing so.
What Jane is doing-—growing old,
taking out her ominous black trash bags
to vanish terribly in the snow, getting ready
for someone to drive her to a facility—
that may be her idea of the future (which I totally respect),
but it certainly isn’t mine.

from Imperial. Copyright © 2014 University of Pittsburgh Press.

Why I think of leaving the Church Update

Thank you for inviting me to speak with you this morning. I want to present some of my concerns about the Trinitarian Church. I begin with a discussion of my background; then a brief history of the reasons for the Nicene Creed; next I will parse it; and conclude with some general concerns.

I come to the discussion with a comparatively inappropriate background. My training was in mathematics and statistics with an abiding interest in poetry and history. My family historically belonged to the Congregational Church until my great grandfather converted to the Episcopal Church. We may have been related to James Freeman who served as a Anglican minister at King’s Chapel, Boston. He is sometimes named the first Unitarian cleric in America because he renounced the required Athanasian Creed and re-wrote the Anglican Book of Common Prayer to eliminate all references to the Trinity.

Today I want to present my thoughts on leaving the Church. I have gone through periods of spiritual reassessment. Most recently the concern began while reading the Old Testament, a habit acquired as part of Morning Prayer. At some point, probably part way through Exodus or Joshua, I became ill at the thought of what I was reading. The violence and genocide of the Canaanites overwhelmed me. At that point my concerns and doubts began to coalesce. Evident problems with the Nicene Creed formed part of my thinking, which was evolving when reading George Santayana’s Skepticism and Animal Faith and Charles Freeman’s (no relation) The Closing of the Western Mind.

At the beginning of the Fourth Century of the Common Era (CE) the Roman Empire was in turmoil with nearly continuous civil war. Let me set the political conditions by reading the first verse of “The Second Coming” by William Butler Yeats:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

In 312 CE Constantine the Great defeated Maxentius at Milvian Bridge to become co-emperor of the Roman Empire. It is noteworthy that according to legend, the night before the battle he had a vision of the sign “Chi Rho,” the first letters Christ in Greek. He had this emblazoned on the shields of his army before the battle. The victory marked the beginning of what may have been his conversion to Christianity. One of his first acts as co-Emperor was to invoke the Edict of Milan that recognized Christianity as a religion no longer subject to persecution.

The ensuing years allowed Constantine to consolidate his power and eliminate his political rivals. However, the Christian bishops argued endlessly about the theology associated with the new religion. This tended to disrupt the Empire, putting it directly in conflict with Constantine’s goal of maintaining Pax Romana. The specific controversy was over Arianism, which holds that the Son is distinct and therefore subordinate to the Father. A dozen years after Constantine’s victory he commissioned the Nicene Creed in 325. The creed affirmed the Trinity which asserts the equality of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Constantine believed the creed would end the argument. But he needed to re-assure Romans that the pagan religions, which had guided Rome a millennium, would remain on an equal footing with Christianity. Prior to the Nicene Creed, he decreed the day of the sun, Dies Solis or Sunday, as a Roman day of rest. He constantly promoted Eastern religions, including Christianity and Sol Invictus, as a means of assuring peace in his empire.

At the time of Creed’s adoption Christianity was not the state religion. Emperor Theodosius issued the Edict of Thessalonica in 381. This declared Nicene Trinitarian Christianity to be the sole imperial religion and therefore Catholic or universal. Subsequently, the First Council of Constantinople affirmed the orthodoxy of the Creed. This established the equality and eternity of the Trinity. Moreover, it asserted the supremacy of the Bishop of Rome. This was disputed and subsequently led to the Great Schism of the Roman Catholic Church.

The critical point noted by Charles Freeman is that the Councils effectively ended all further debate about the main beliefs of Christian theology. It established conditions under which heresy and apostasy could be established. The nature of heresy was established in the Athanasian Creed, to which the Reverend Freeman objected.

The Nicene Creed also emphasizes the evangelical mission of the Church and its client states. Thus, the Creed became a central affirmation of Christian Churches, which remains true to this day. Given its role in theology it is important to carefully parse its words.

{Paragraph 1}

The Creed contains thirteen sentences divided into three paragraphs. The first sentence of the Creed affirms the belief in one God and his creation of heaven and earth. I think the affirmation is anachronistic once we recognize that the universe has existed for billions of years. Contemplation of the early origins of the universe has led directly to the Big Bang Theory, among others. The assertion of belief in a single God responsible for creation cuts off this line of inquiry.

But why should there be only one god? For thousands of years people coexisted with a myriad of gods and in many ways, it was a cordial existence. So called pagans and their mythology can view gods as exemplars, not rulers. This differs sharply from the notion of a single father figure as god.

To fully appreciate the implications of a single deity, one needs to recognize the emergence of Radical Monotheism that created an adversarial relationship with a single god, which continues to this day. Abraham is credited with asserting a single god rules and must be obeyed. Disobedience carries great risk. This criticality is emphasized in the Ten Commandments.

Among others, the Protestant Roger Williams noted in the 17th Century that the first half of the Ten Commandments demands devotion to the power and worship of God. Neither he nor Ann Hutchinson objected to the broad guidelines for human interaction in the second half of the commandments. Each also believed that human action was necessary for salvation. For this they were exiled from the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Christianity picked up the attendant militancy of Radical Monotheism through what is known as the Great Commission, found in the Gospel of Matthew. Matthew asserts that after his resurrection, Christ ordered his disciples and all believers to evangelize and baptize the nations of the world. A similar command by Jesus, while still human, is found in the Gospel of Luke as well as a the appended verses of the Gospel of Mark. This commission has been repeatedly invoked to justify worldwide colonization by European empires.

Finally, Mohammad wrote the Quran invoking submission to a single deity. The conquest by Islam of much of the world was a response to this belief. Islam first moved across North Africa searching for converts. Later it swept across south Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Invoking the primacy of Allah, Islamists forced the conversions of Buddhists, Hindus, Vodun, and Yoruba. For the most part Islam has not required the conversion of Christians and Jews, merely that they pay special taxes.

In summary the first paragraph of the Creed both cuts off theological and scientific discussion. It creates an adversarial relationship with the transcendent. Finally, it urges the convert to action against the other beliefs.

{Paragraph 2}

The Creed’s second paragraph of six sentences asks us to believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ. Yet there is little contemporary evidence that he even lived. Josephus wrote the only independent contemporary account of Jesus. In the Antiquities of the Jews, he mentions both the crucifixion of Jesus whom he describes as the Messiah and a wise teacher, although this may have been partially the result of later Christian redactions. He also mentions Jesus’s brother, James. Finally, he does describe the beheading of John the Baptist by Herod Antipas.

Paul wrote the first Christian reports of Jesus, yet he acknowledges never having met Jesus when he lived. He minimally discusses Jesus’s life. Mostly he argues that Jesus systematically supported a theocentric view of the Torah. Paul is particularly clear that Jesus objected to the Temple focus of the Jews under Herod and the Romans. Paul does make clear that he had a remarkable vision on the road to Damascus. He also spent a great deal of time in conflict with Peter and the other Apostles in Jerusalem.

To be clear, much of the deification of Jesus, the Christ, relies on Paul’s writing. Supporting theology developed after the creed beginning with St. Augustine. It is important to remember he spoke no Hebrew and little Greek, so Augustine’s thought reflected Roman translations of Paul and the Gospels into Latin.

Subsequent accounts, the Gospels, were written two to four generations after the reported crucifixion. The oldest, Mark, does not clearly affirm the resurrection especially if one acknowledges Chapter 16 may well have ended at verse 8, before an appended resurrection story. On reflection the Gospels may demonstrate the truth of Santayana’s adage that “History is a pack of lies about events that never happened told by people weren’t there.”

Notions of Jesus’s virgin birth and his unity with God were very much a subject of debate until the fourth century of the Common Era. We know from the Gospel texts and Paul’s letters that Jesus had several brothers and sisters. The notion that Mary was without sin did not become absolute church dogma until 1854 when Pope Pius IX adopted it ex cathedra without Vatican consultation.

In summary, the Creed’s statements concerning the second member of the Trinity essentially allowed the persecution of Arians as heretics. It also attempted to end discussion of Jesus as the co-equal of God. Basically, it made any consideration of the solely human nature of Jesus, heresy.

{Paragraph 3}

The Creed’s final paragraph asserts the existence of a Holy Spirit. The existence of a Holy Spirit is not obvious in the Gospels. It is frequently found amongst the characters of the Gospel of Luke, primarily as a description of why individuals act or believe certain things. There is some reporting of the presence of God affirming his son at various points. This is symbolized by a dove at Jesus’s baptism.

The reality of the Holy Spirit was a subject of great debate and appears to have been appended to the Creed late in the discussions. It remains as a justification for the belief in God’s continuous and personal presence in the world. The inclusion of the Holy Spirit in the Creed contributed to the schism of Roman and Orthodox churches which remains unresolved today.

The Creed finishes with dogma about the Church, sins, and resurrection. These tend to pull together a lingering set of beliefs that may assure hope and unity. But little follows directly from Jesus’s teaching. Moreover, none of that seems necessary for leading a wholesome life. In simpler terms the final paragraph of the Creed wraps up the Christian beliefs and affirms a dogma without reason or proof.

This leads me to believe the Creed serves primarily as theological assertions. It was originally adopted at the behest of Constantine in hopes of stopping bickering amongst Church leaders. By forcing the adoption of the creed, Emperors were able to assert absolute authority over the Roman Empire.

In summary, the core beliefs of apostolic churches are found in the Nicene Creed. The Creed was adopted as means to insure the continuation of Pax Romana. It affirms the centrality of radical monotheism, the deification of an individual, and the broad outlines of a universal church. It became a state religion and continued as such for a millennium and a half. Arguably the Church and governments today use similar arguments to maintain their rule.

This systematic control began to change with the emergence of humanistic thought during the Renaissance. Among the characteristics of the Renaissance was the re-discovery of the ancient Greek and Hebrew texts. This led to new translations and interpretations. It culminated in the next schisms of the Church with the Protestant Reformation and the Catholic Counter-Reformation. But the central role of absolute monarchy was slow to be undermined.

Today, it appears that the emergence of liberal democracies in the West has led to the relative reduction of what became regal and state oppression. These democracies, except for the United States, are notable for their dedication to social systems that are deeply committed to the sanctity of all living humans.
I believe the survival of these democracies requires the centrality of critical thinking in a relentless search of truth.

A search that has been systematically blocked by a creed that creates a narrow set of dogmas.

Having argued against the Creed and its role in narrowing the Christian Church, how can one remain? That would require another longer talk. But in telegraphic terms: The Church has endured for two millennia. It provides a source of solace for billions of people. I would be beyond arrogant to reject an historic and present reality. This humbling fact affects many who may have questions of faith. In the last decade of his life George Santayana lived in the care of Catholic sisters, but he remained true to his doubts and insisted on not being buried in consecrated ground. Let me finish with a note of personal angst found at the end of “Dover Beach” by Matthew Arnold.

The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.

Thank you.

Nicene Creed

Paragraph 1

We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.

Paragraph 2

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us men and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,
and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

Paragraph 3

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.

References

  1. Charles Freeman, Closing of the Western Mind: The Rise of Faith and the Fall of Reason. Vintage Books, 2005.
  2. Charles Freeman, A.D. 381: Heretics, Pagans, and the Dawn of the Monotheistic State. Abrams Press, 2009.
  3. John Gray, Seven Types of Atheism. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2018.
  4. James J. O’Donnell, Pagans: The End of Traditional Religion and the Rise of Christianity. Harper Collins, 2015.
  5. Jaroslav Pelikan, Credo: Historical and Theological Guide to Creeds and Confessions of Faith in the Christian Tradition. Yale University Press, 2003.

Excerpt from “An Essay on Man”

by Alexander Pope

ALL are but parts of one stupendous whole,
Whose body Nature is, and God the soul;
That, changed through all, and yet in all the same,
Great in the earth, as in th’ ethereal frame,
Warms in the sun, refreshes in the breeze,
Glows in the stars, and blossoms in the trees,
Lives through all life, extends through all extent,
Spreads undivided, operates unspent:
Breathes in our soul, informs our mortal part;
As full, as perfect, in a hair as heart;
As full, as perfect, in vile man that mourns
As the rapt Seraphim, that sings and burns:
To him no high, no low, no great, no small—
He fills, he bounds, connects, and equals all….
All nature is but art, unknown to thee:
All chance, direction, which thou canst not see:
All discord, harmony not understood;
All partial evil, universal good.