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.
What is the “Sparkle Creed”? See below:
“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? In our reactivity, or using my I statements, it’s easy for me to be dismissive. And still, in our effort to hold 100% grace and 100% truth, let’s do that here by using the guiding principles of being compassionate and having convicted civility.
First, creed. Historically, brief statements of key doctrines have been around since the start of biblical history. They often focus on God and the way of salvation (Deut 6:4; 1 Cor. 15:3-5). The Apostles, Nicene, and Athanasian creed were concerned with what’s true about God as well as the person and work of Jesus. In contrast, here, the heading 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 co-opting theological language and then injecting it with post-modern words that carry different notations. Generously, while attempting to make something more accessible, which is good, the danger is purporting something that wasn’t there in the first place.
It so follows, in saying God is non-binary is to make a classification mistake. God isn’t a being that is confined or subject to gender categories. To refer to my device as non-binary is a category mistake. Furthermore, historically, we know God eternally exists as three co-eternal – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – who each equally share one divine essence, i.e, perichoresis [mutual indwelling]. This creed ignores the ways and times God refers to himself by particular pronouns.
Fourthly, 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. This comment of two dads is woefully misleading and injected with buzz words. Furthermore, it seems to conflict with the claim that God is non-binary. This creed continually confesses that the subject, me, determines reality. And, in culture that wants to be taken on their terms, that value is not extended to God himself.
Fifth, the rainbow spirit. This departure from the Holy Spirit is noteworthy. 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, but to save and sanctify us.
Lastly, Jesus wore a colorful tunic. This could have been taken from Joseph (Gen 37:3), but we see no reference of this at all in the life of Jesus. Graciously, the work of Jesus brought in those who were oppressed and marginalized, He valued diversity, and still He valued something else…….so much more.
And the “Sparkle Creed” goes there. Love. Yet, that’s the hiccup of our day. The designations 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 give us an unquenching resource to the malignancy of our souls? No. Sadly, this creed ignores the extensive and strenuous work of those who thought deeply about how the gospel applies 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 and loves us that much more to not let us stay there. One who came full of grace + truth. One who can reconcile us back to God, other people, and our truest selves. Would we trust that He is intellectually credible and existentially satisfying? Would we, like the prince of preachers, C.H. Spurgeon says:
“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.
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