Monday, August 25, 2014


Understanding Tradition

Mark Daniels gives a good explanation of the tradition of "The Church Year." HIs says the role of this tradition is: help people know the God we meet in Jesus and also to help believers to grow in their faith. Knowing Jesus as Savior and holding onto Him with sustained belief is how we are saved from sin and death and give us eternal life in Jesus' Name. When the Church Year does that, it's a tool in the hands of God, human invention or not!
I think a key question, when such traditions have been abandoned by large swathes of Evangelicalism and it that wake by mainlines struggling to survive, is "How does it accomplish this goal?"

Many such traditions have roots in a pre-literate age. The were intended, at least in part, has devices to help the illiterate retain the good news of Jesus when it was not possible for them to read the Bible on a routine basis. Just because reading is now widespread, it does not; however mean that these traditions have lost value. There are two reasons that I would cite.

For one, the latest generation is increasingly post-literate. That is to say they do not ingest information by reading so much as by video and other mediums other than the written word. They are quite capable of reading, but their preferred methods of information gathering come in much shorter bursts. It seems to me that things like the church calendar would find increasing use in such an environment.

Secondly, God seeks to reach us on all levels of our lives. The written word is the best means to reach our rational mind we have. But there are other levels to our existence. Many of the liturgical traditions of the church an reach us on those levels just as effectively, some even more so, than the videos of today.

The church must indeed change its means of communication with the times, but it should not necessarily reject older means simply because they are old. THos eolder means may meet modern needs more than we know.


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