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Thursday, February 26, 2009
Church Tradition or Stagnation?
Personally I would view handling tradition as somewhat like eating a fish. You have to savor the meat and safely and carefully discard the bones. Likewise I believe there is much to value in the traditions of the Eastern Orthodox Church and Roman Catholic Church traditions as well; I just do not swallow the whole kit and caboodle. Traditions don't emerge in a vacuum devoid of common sense and prayerful reflection. It is easy to stand on the outside of time and point fingers in judgment. If those in the east are considered ignorant for their traditional practices, how can we in the west, who built a nation by justifying the evil of slavery for centuries, consider ourselves so much spiritually superior? If I were allowed the pleasure of worshiping in the Sistine Chapel in Rome, I would have such a grand high time in the presence of God Almighty that I would probably write volumes about the experience. I can only imagine the splendor of the EOC sanctuaries and I would appreciate the icons without unscripturally venerating or worshiping them, just as I can today appreciate the sacrament of holy communion without believing in transubstantiation. We make mountains out of molehills and only hinder ourselves and the great holy commission of the church. God is not the author of confusion, but we sure can be. At Christ's return, my Bible says that every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that He is Lord. How shall we all bow and how shall we all confess? Will there be an eastern way and a western way? Will Jesus be pleased with those of us who cared more about traditional and doctrinal differences than we cared about his prayer in John 17 that we be one as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one?