30 March 2010

Holy Week Refresher 2

Again, for any who might want a brief break this day.

"Tradition is given to teach us how to think about theology, not so that we might do theology without thinking."

Thoughts? Is this accurate?


Rev. Eric J Brown said...

This week we come across a lot of various traditions. I notice this more so as my congregation doesn't observe as many of them as the various parishes I was at growing up. I miss the striping of the altar, but that is not a matter of custom here yet. Full bore fasting for Lent in this area is. . . highly, highly foreign. (ah, the joys of the bible belt)

These customs, these traditions teach. If we don't follow a tradition, I have a much harder time pointing to it as an example. The idea enforced by the tradition tends to fall away.

Folks here are starting to see thing. We've gone through a good study of the Sunday morning liturgy, including why we do things - why we stand here, why we sit here, why Pastor kneels here even though they don't because we have no kneelers. . . it teaches.

One of the complaints I have heard against tradition it that traditions turn things into mere rote - that one can then just go through the motions - whether those are daily motions, or weekly motions, seasonal motions. Change, variation, these make things stand out.

The purpose of tradition isn't to let us be unthinking, but rather that we might learn how to think - that we might have a framework upon which to think. Tradition is never the end, the goal, the answer to a theological question - but it is part of the evidence, the whole that we see and observe and ponder and participate in.

Enjoy the traditions you come across this week, and let them focus you upon the wonders of Christ's love for you.

Ted Badje said...

I think that is the most succinct statement on traditions I have ever heard. If the tradition points to Christ, it should be kept. All explanations from the pastor whether to introduce a tradition that has fallen into disuse should be Christological - pointing to his life, death, and resurrection.

Father Hollywood said...

I find that everyone is a traditionalist - especially those in the Bible Belt.

They only reject *Christian* traditionalism that binds us to the apostles - as that tradition inevitably takes us through the middle ages (time is a continuum, and we can't leapfrog over it). You cannot get from 21st century American Lutheranism back to the apostles without embracing the western catholic tradition - something Lutherans have been taught - in a self-defeating kind of way - to reject.

To see Bible Belt traditionalism at its best, try suggesting with a straight face that we will be changing the Pledge of Allegiance and will no longer sing the Star Spangled Banner before sports events. Or drop a hint that there will be no Oklahoma-Texas football game this year.

Everyone is a traditionalist.

George said...

Following up on Father Hollywood's comment, I noticed on Maundy Thursday that the one thing the Altar Guild couldn't bear to have stripped out of the sanctuary was the American flag. We can take out everything pertaining to God, but golly we've never taken out the Flag before. It probably doesn't have anything to do with this post; just found it interesting.

George Naylor

Chad Myers said...

Faith and Nationalism have always been strange bedfellows -- sometimes helping, sometimes harming each other.