July 2023, a clip of the “Sparkle Creed,” a version of the Apostle’s Creed modified to emphasize LGBTQ+ inclusion, caused controversy online. What is it? Why does it matter? Here’s the big idea: if we’re not being thoughtfully formed by Jesus, then we are being unintentionally formed by something or someone else.
The “Sparkle Creed”:
I believe in the non-binary God whose pronouns are plural. I believe in Jesus Christ, their child, who wore a fabulous tunic and had two dads and saw everyone as a sibling-child of God. I believe in the rainbow Spirit, who shatters our image of one white light and refracts it into a rainbow of gorgeous diversity. I believe in the church of everyday saints as numerous, creative, and resilient as patches on the AIDS quilt, whose feet are grounded in mud and whose eyes gaze at the stars in wonder. I believe in the call to each of us that love is love is love, so beloved, let us love. I believe, glorious God. Help my unbelief.
How are we to respond to this? Using my I statements, I find it easy to be dismissive. And still, in an effort to hold 100% grace and 100% truth, let’s do that here by using the guiding principles of compassion and convicted civility.
First, let’s consider creed. Brief statements of key doctrines have been around since the Shema. They often focus on God and the way of salvation (Deut. 6:4; 1 Cor. 15:3-5). The Apostles’, Nicene, and Athanasian creeds were concerned with what’s true about God, the Holy Spirit, and the person and work of Jesus. In contrast, here, the title starts with Sparkle, which signals us to what this creed will outline.
Second, while the paragraph mentions God, Jesus, and the Spirit, its emphasis is on employing theological language injected with post-modern concepts. To be generous, the “Sparkle Creed” attempts to make the Apostles’ Creed more accessible. Unfortunately, it succeeds in importing ideas foreign to orthodox Christianity.
Saying that God is non-binary is to make an error in category (logical fallacy). God isn’t a being who is confined or subject to gender categories. Furthermore, we know God exists as three co-eternal persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who each equally share one divine essence (perichoresis [mutual indwelling]). The “Sparkle Creed” ignores the times God refers to himself by singular pronouns.
Third, while it’s true that Jesus did have two dads, He had a mom too. His Father (in heaven) was the one who directed His life. The affirmation of presence of two dads is woefully misleading. Indeed, it seems to conflict with the claim that God is non-binary. This creed assumes that the one who says it, me, determines reality. In a culture that wants to be taken on their terms, why is that privilege not extended to God himself?
Fourth, the rainbow spirit is a noteworthy departure from the Holy Spirit. In any theological discussion, one of the most helpful questions is “What do you mean when you say _____?” While there are ways the Holy Spirit convicts (Jn 15:8), his work isn’t to shatter or refract. It is to sanctify us and lead us to the truth.
Fifth, Jesus wore a fabulous tunic. This could have been taken from Joseph’s coat (Gen 37:3), but we see no reference of this at all in the life of Jesus. Graciously, Jesus brought in those who were oppressed and marginalized. He valued diversity, and still he valued something else so much more.
The “Sparkle Creed” goes there, to love. Yet, that’s the hiccup of our day (the definition of love). Is this creed thick enough for them or us to love the way Jesus loved? Do those who recite it love their enemy? Does it point us to an antidote to the malignancy of our souls? No, sadly, this creed ignores the extensive and prayerful work of those who thought deeply about how the gospel applied to their time and place. This creed wasn’t written to extol God, but to clarify our or my truth.
Thankfully, we have a Savior who loves us right as we are. He loves us so much more that he will not let us stay there. He came full of grace + truth. He can reconcile us back to God, other people, and our truest selves. Would we trust that he is intellectually credible and existentially satisfying? Let us, like the prince of preachers, C.H. Spurgeon, “cast the burden of the present, along with the sin of the past and the fear of the future, upon the Lord who never forsakes us.”
While growing up in Arlington Heights, IL, it wasn’t until the start of my senior year did I start to wonder if Jesus was worth considering. For me, it took the intellectual, communal, and personal components to come together to say – yes – to Him. I like to say He captured the restlessness of my soul and like a guitar restrung my heart with the cords of eternity and it hasn’t gone back since.
Shortly after coming to know Jesus as my greatest hope and reality, my father died. Since then, I’ve taken great comfort in Corrie Ten Boom’s words, “If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. If you look at God, you’ll be at rest.”
Then, not long after that, a family member came out to me. For the first time this dimension of life – spirituality and sexuality – wasn’t an abstract concept, this was and is a person. After attending to them with grace and truth, an odd phenomenon kept happening to me, or has it been for something? Individuals would continually trust me with their questions, wounds, and curiosities about their sexuality. At this point, it’s climbed to 15+. From there, I’ve invested the better part of eight years being engaged with individuals and immersed in the dizzying array of literature on these areas of our personhood.
I’ve found Elizabeth Elliot’s words to have great bearing on our cultural moment: “Faith doesn’t eliminate questions, but faith knows where to take them.” Two prayers that have grounded and guided my life are: “I long to have faith and obedience like those I see in the Scriptures, and I long to preach the gospel to the nations.”
Those are my life’s aims. Among my love of books, reflection, and nurturing meaningful relationships, I enjoy good coffee, jazz music, golf, snowboarding, the movies, pizza (pepperoni), cooking, the mountains, and the beach as well as traveling.
I hold an MDiv from Denver Seminary, and I hope to gain more clarity on pursuing a PhD in the coming years.
I’m humbled and honored to join the WGA staff and contribute to the on-going space they are curating for every person, every story, and every beautiful and broken aspect of our human experience.
Make a Difference in Someone's Life
If you enjoy reading WGA’s blogs and would like to show your support, please consider making a donation. Where Grace Abounds is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. The majority of services, including support groups and discipleship counseling, are provided free of charge. Your financial gifts help to cover the costs associated with offering a free program to those who seek WGA’s services.