this i believe

my lovely sister, caylin, got me hooked on the NPR podcast for “this american life“.  last week’s episode is called, “this i used to believe,” which is a play on the national media project This I Believe which engages people worldwide into sharing, writing, discussing their core values and beliefs that they base their daily lives upon.  NPR airs these three-minute essays on several of their radio shows.

This I Believe, itself, is based on a 1950s radio program of the same name, hosted by edward r. murrow seeking “to point to the common meeting grounds of beliefs, which is the essence of brotherhood and the floor of our civilization.”

it’s a question i love to ask people, but when i ask i don’t mean ‘what religion do you align with?  what philosophy?  what titles and labels and groupings?’  i simply mean, “what do you believe?”  it could be (and has been) as simple as, “i believe that the literal ground i walk on isn’t going to crumble when i place my weight on it. i believe my car’s going to start when i turn the key and that the food i eat is going to sustain me till my next meal.”  basically it’s like asking, “what is true?” or “what are the assumptions you make and put weight on in a day?”  some people hate the question and others absolutely love to disect their way through it.  i’m part of the latter.

i’ve tried getting people to comment on here before – to answer questions or post replies.   it seems absurd, but i know (due to the highly technological nature of wordpress) that i have an average of 86 viewers a day. apparently i have a bunch of shy readers!  so based on poor response in the past i won’t actually ask the 86 of you to reply here (though i would love it if you would) but definitely take five minutes and write down what you believe.  here’s mine:

i believe that love is all that matters. i believe that jesus was the perfect personification of love.  i believe that people are messy and selfish and far from perfect, but i also deeply believe that honesty, communication, and heaps of grace can overcome all that.  i believe that my purpose in this world is attempt to see each person i contact through the eyes of their creator and place their needs before my own.  not in a self-depreciating way, but rather knowing that i am and will be most fulfilled when i’m fulfilling my purpose.  i believe that moments are fast and fleeting and that the present is my only guarantee.  i believe in living simply and working hard so that i have enough time and resources to take care of my needs and serve the people god places in my life.  i believe that ‘sin,’ rather than ‘doing bad things’ is the failure to even attempt to love.  the opposite of love is not hate but rather apathy.  i believe i have been and will be hurt and bruised and battered by people i love…and that i will hurt, batter, and bruise those i love, but that vulnerability is the only context in which love can really be lived out.  and if love is all that matters, then i believe it’s worth the fight.

so now that i’ve been a complete cheeseball, it’s your turn.  write down what you believe.  don’t just think about it – take 5 minutes and write it.  1 sentence or 45 pages.  on a napkin, in a journal, carved into a picnic bench…whatever’s available.  don’t use labels or simply say i believe in post-modern thought or frogs or the bible.  be specific.  what do you believe about the bible?  that it weighs a certain amount?  that it will hold your cup when you set it there to rest?  you’re the only one who can hold yourself accountable to this, but don’t write down the crap that you think you should believe – only the things you do believe beyond a shadow of a doubt.

and please, feel free to ask question and counter-argue what I believe.  i love discussion and i promise i’ll take no personal offense to disagreement.  i just like thoughts, ideas, and the interaction that comes from sharing them.


3 Responses to “this i believe”

  1. 1 Momma April 25, 2009 at 7:33 am

    don’t get discouraged. I’ve been thinking 24 hours now and still am not ready to put it to pen.

    • 2 calaismarie April 25, 2009 at 8:19 am

      oh i’m not discouraged – i genuinely don’t expect anyone to reply here. i’m just hoping some will write it down in their own journals whether they ever mention it to me or not.

  2. 3 Momma April 26, 2009 at 7:33 pm

    i did it on my facebook page. I’ll journal more but, the three sentences sums mine up. What is All’s baby’s name?

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Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh and the greatness which does not bow before children.
-Kahlil Gibran

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