Dabar [theme]

He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou find refuge: His truth is a shield and buckler
Psalms 91:4

Be it ours,when we cannot see the face of God, to trust under the shadow of His wings. C.H. Spugeon

Friday, August 12, 2011

Tradition, Tsunami Stones and Tolerance

Tradition is the by-word for antagonistic intolerance. What tradition has come to mean is the archaic, the non-enlightened, the conservative, “the past” as though there was anything monolithic about the beliefs and practices of previous ages.",  the theological presuppositions or doctrines seen as intolerant to any new-age belief and in this lies its inherent fault. Tradition is usually contrasted with the goal of modernity and is therefore deemed as antiquated and arcane.

The modern problem with tradition is the rate of change. Tradition changes slowly, with changes from one generation to the next not being seen as significant. In our modern world change is a daily occurrence, part and parcel of life. Our children have seen so many technological advances in their short life they are not even aware of its impact or the influence it is having on their mind-set and attitude. I am not going to get in to our disposable culture, but we have created a throw-away generation. Yesterday is irrelevant to today and such is the attitude towards many Christian traditional thoughts, doctrines and suppositions.

Tradition is intolerant, it holds the line when attacked by new thoughts and ideas. It can be stubborn opposition to new concepts, even when the light of truth reveals the error in traditional thought.

"I have a lot of sympathy for that perspective, but my own concern is that we in the church have begun treating our ancestors in the faith as outdated, useless prototypes and not as fellow men and women seeking to understand the God we all strive to serve. I find myself often engaged in conversations with folks who sincerely want to broaden the diversity of the community contributing to our theology. That’s an effort I applaud. That’s an effort I attempt to engage myself, but while these good people fight to include voices from other cultures, other races, other classes, other nations and even other faiths, the voices from other centuries are noticeably absent and sometimes explicitly barred from the table. This troubles me. If we confess ourselves to be “one holy catholic and apostolic Church,” then we are called to seek communion not only with believers of every place, race and culture but also of every time. We are simply not a universal church if we pass the microphone around the world but not throughout the centuries. ...

Our theological ancestors represent a treasury of diverse understandings of God and examples of discipleship, and the church could be greatly rewarded if we culled gems from those riches instead of simply locking the safe."

"If we assert that our own understanding of the divine is strengthened each time we encounter an expression beyond our own, then we have nothing to fear in engaging earlier Christians in conversation."

What is really traditional is what stands the test of time, inquiry and antagonism. The current world-view comes under no-such critique. The current world-view is accepted based on the populace's hunger to reject the beliefs and traditions of our ancestors, in spite of the overwhelming evidence which supports those beliefs. Intolerance is not prejudiced, it can be exhibited by anyone.

If you reject the traditional just because it is old thought then the point made by the survival of those thoughts through countless generations is lost. It is pure vanity and pride which refuses to acknowledge the journeys of faith which have produced the theological understanding we have today of God and God as revealed through His word.

There are many traditional ideas of theology which differ, but it should be understood, even as Paul wrote to different churches about different issues of belief, practice and thought, that throughout the ages there have been as just as many issues dealt with by Church leaders by only focusing on certain aspects of Biblical teaching and their application to the events of the day. That being said, the basis of our belief and the work that God has done through His Son, Jesus Christ has never changed, nor has the need for redemption.

Tsunami Stones are found throughout the coastal regions of Japan. They date back as far as six centuries and 'Yes' they are the high water markers in the event a Tsunami happens. "What so puzzled me while reading about the tsunami stones were the commentators who voiced their complete astonishment that any of the instructions on these markers could have proven useful. The stones were characterized as novelties carved by men who had been unable to defeat the swell of the sea through the technological achievements of higher sea walls, advanced warning systems, and steel reinforced structures. They were remnants from a more primitive age. The stones were interesting historically and aesthetically, (Who wouldn’t stop to have her picture taken next to one?), but the stones no longer informed a modern, sophisticated society which had overcome such ancient fears with the progress of time. It’s no wonder then that people were shocked when these monuments turned out not to be the markers of an era long dead but living stones voicing a warning that saved a village."

Such is the state of tradition, it is deemed historical but irrelevant in a modern enlightened era. Hebrews 13:8, states that "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." He is the everlasting Rock of Ages.
Hebrews 1:10-12, "You Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You remain; and they will all grow old like a garment; like a cloak You will fold them up, and they will be changed. But You are the same, and Your years will not fail."

This is foundational to all Christian thought, it has been passed done through generations as such it is traditional belief, so is the following prayer:

"Lord, I have sinned! I deserve the lowest reaches of Hell, but I am justified freely by Your grace through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ, Your Son. The life I now live, I live by faith in Him who loved me and gave Himself for me, Your Son, Jesus Christ. The life I now live is a divine, heavenly life, a life which is hid with Your Son, Jesus Christ in God."

Rock of Ages cleft for me ...

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,

let me hide myself in thee;
let the water and the blood,
from thy wounded side which flowed,
be of sin the double cure;
save from wrath and make me pure.

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