I am writing this from the Holiday Inn in downtown Duluth as we conclude our annual Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association Executive Training Institute. It is our annual chiefs conference. Once again it was a great event. At this years prayer breakfast I spoke of creating more faith based “gathering” opportunities. I made the commitment to make a post every Thursday, a spiritual fitness exercise post, that members of our association (as well as all others who care to join us) could gather around in spirit and thought. So here it is:
I had to write a “creed” customized to the faith community I serve for a recent seminary course I was taking. Most members of my class serve in an ELCA Lutheran parish, so their creeds were ELCA based and customized to the demographics of their congregations. The faith community I serve, law enforcement professional of the state of Minnesota, created a little different challenge. What follows is what I came up with.
The Peace Officer Faith Community Creed
We believe that we are a faith community called to serve by a power greater than self.
We believe in an expression and application of faith that is personal. It is a faith that is not regulated by government nor political correctness, but by the mutual respect of our individual beliefs and cultures as we come together in service of a common mission.
We believe that we are called to protect life as it exists in this world in accordance with the values established by society. We will attempt to bring a degree of order to the inevitable chaos that occurs in a world and society that exercises free will.
We understand that we may be called upon, at societies direction, to decide who will live and who will die. We are willing to sacrifice our own lives in order to carry out our established mission.
We believe that it is critical that we maintain a personal fitness level that is necessary to perform our duties to standards imposed by society and our own personal beliefs. This fitness must address all components of life, Body, Mind and Soul. We vow to be physically, intellectually and spiritually strong, and to be gentle in the application of that strength.
Here is a definition of a creed just for reference:
1: a brief authoritative formula of religious belief
2: a set of fundamental beliefs
3: a guiding principle
So here is your exercise: Read the creed above. Spend some time thinking about what the different statements mean to you. Agree? Disagree? How would you change it? How would you write a creed for yourself? Your agency? Your peers? Should we stay away from trying to write a creed?
What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear them!