One of our favorite songs is "Creed." The lyrics of "Creed" are almost a straight recitation of the Apostles' Creed. In the early days of contemporary Christian music within evangelical culture that in itself was a bit of a revelation. Sola Scriptura people didn't talk a whole lot about the ancient confessional creeds. Creeds were a bit too liturgical, too Catholic.
The lyrics of "Creed" that really get me come in the chorus. After reciting the confessional statements of the creed in the verses the chorus makes a comment:
And I believe that what I believeI did not make it, no it is making me. That's the lyric that grabs me.
Is what makes me what I am
I did not make it, no it is making me
It is the very truth of God and not
The invention of any man
I'm put in mind again of the assessment of George Lindbeck in his book The Nature of Doctrine:
[T]o become religious--no less than to become culturally or linguistically competent--is to interiorize a set of skills by practice and training. One learns how to feel, act and think in conformity with a religious tradition that is, in its inner structure, far richer and more subtle than can be explicitly articulated... [Thus] it is necessary to have the means for expressing an experience in order to have it, and the richer our expressive or linguistic system, the more subtle, varied, and differentiated can be our experience...
There are numberless thoughts we cannot think, sentiments we cannot have, and realities we cannot perceive unless we learn to use the appropriate symbol systems...[U]nless we acquire language of some kind, we cannot actualize our specifically human capacities for thought, action and feeling. Similarly, so the argument goes, to become religious involves becoming skilled in the language of the symbol system of a given religion. To become a Christian involves learning the story of Israel and of Jesus well enough to interpret and experience oneself and one's world in its terms. A religion is above all an external word...that molds and shapes the self and its world...This is the important bit: It is necessary to have the means for expressing an experience in order to have it. And the richer and more expressive our language, symbols, rituals and art the more subtle, varied, differentiated and deeper can be our experience. Because there are numberless thoughts we cannot think, feelings we cannot feel, and realities we cannot perceive until we learn to use this language with its rituals, symbols and art.
Or, more simply, I did not make it but it is making me.