Tuesday, December 01, 2009

A New Tradition?

I love traditions. That may be a shock to those who think I'm one of the iconoclastic preachers of my generation. I still remember how surprised I was to see an editorial comment printed on the back cover of my book Spilt Grape Juice, that declared, "The road to hell is paved with good traditions." It was removed in later editions, but at the time, I thought, "Wow! I'd never say anything like that!" While I agree with it, and while it is - has been - and aways will be wrong to elevate any tradition of man to equality with God's will, I know that God is more interested in the condition of the heart than He is with the practices and performances we create. What has always amazed me is not the fact that we have routines and rituals what make us feel comfortable and secure, but that many Christians are totally oblivious to the fact that much of what we do, especially in our assembly oriented believe system, comes from early American church traditions and from Catholicism. Somehow it makes it all different if we can call it "following the New Testament pattern," even if we care little about doing that honestly.
No, I love traditions. I love family traditions. The whole time I was building my back porch I had visions of sitting out there with my family, watching God's creation, enjoying the peace and quiet, and building some great memories and traditions. And I love church family traditions, like trying to get four hundred plus people to form a circle after a baptism so we can welcome a new brother or sister into the family with song, prayer, and family support. I love all the little things we do as a church family that makes us closer, more loving, and yes, different.
That is why I regularly remind us all of one of my favorite sayings. It came to me several years ago, and has helped me tremendously to know the difference between godly and ungodly traditions.
Traditions are for bonding not binding.
That'll preach!


Deborah said...

That's great! And what a sweet picture of Carter and Ashlyn on your porch!!

Three weeks, and that'll be me with a cup of coffee...another good tradition.

Anonymous said...

What a sweet picture! Here's to many more years of enjoying family and God's creation on a great porch! Sherry