In Community, Alone, in Community: Towards an Understanding of Christian Faith for the Post-Enlightenment, Post-Evangelical, Post-1960s Revolution Generation

Gillian Simpson



The Christian Creeds outline the central beliefs of Christianity, providing a universal statement of faith for Christians everywhere. This is an account of one perspective on the Creeds, which begins in a narrow Christian community, moves through isolation and solitude, and ends at the edges of a new community; a journey which edges towards the human goal of self-acceptance and understanding. The doctrines are often perceived as fact, but are there grounds for a more nuanced approach? Theologically, some insiders have developed new approaches to Christianity, while traditional Church theology maintains a stubborn outward attitude of non-compromise. Others who have attempted to develop a more existential approach have been often vilified and disowned by the Church. But is there a third way? One which encompasses neither theological technicality nor angry emotional rejection, but a gradual dawning, personal realisation that we are all moving from one type of community to another, and that the answers lie in doubt rather than certainty. This paper analyses internal and external dialogues the author has experienced, when moving from the confines of a small Evangelical Christian Church community, through solitude, to the tentative edges of a new multi-vocal community. Starting with an analysis of Fowler’s methodology as a tool to evaluate the faith narrative, the author will examine the multiplicity of voices that have informed her journey. She will stop on the way to challenge and encourage the young adult who has become an outsider, to acknowledge the voices of dissenters, to accept a different form of spiritual friendship, and to encounter an evolving community which accepts new voices of gender, doubt and radical interpretation. Finally, she will visit a new creed and ask whether, in the famous words of T. S. Eliot, ‘... the end of all our exploring / Will be to arrive where we started / And know the place for the first time’.


Christian; faith-development; faith-modelling; community; isolation; dialogue; doubt

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