Lesson 10: Tradition – Faith

I failed in coaxing more readers to make comments. However, I received more rave reviews for the three that did than in any previous week. So I am going to proceed as planned, begin building a lifestyle with hopes that others will join in. That will involve making observations and asking questions.

1. Let’s begin with Myron’s wondering what is uniquely Christian about the Kirkridge list. We (because I am as member of the Company) saw this as making the reference point “a contemporary, Christian community”. We hesitated labeling this “Church”, because members attend a variety of meetings, everything from monasteries to house churches. But maybe you have to go beyond that. Certainly one of the problems with the Mainline Churches was they were little more than social clubs for respectable people in the mid twentieth century.

Lutherans define the Church as the gathering of believers for Word and Sacrament. One of the ways we nourish ourselves is by remembering how God has graced life in the past. Does a Christian lifestyle involve observing the Sabbath in the sense of taking time off to regain perspective by remembering our tradition? Does this have to include the sacraments? What else?

2. I think Bob and Matt did a good job answering Myron’s question about how we “delink from the world’s value systems”. I especially liked Matt’s keeping it simple with things such as controlling your schedule and getting beyond the distractions and emotional exhaustion of modern life. Certainly tradition helps in this task as well. Remembering what Jesus said and did is our standard for evaluating what is going on around us. Is being grounded in the scriptures an essential?

3. Tradition does not mean conservative. To remember tradition is not returning to a vanishing way of life, but rather remembering what the past has taught us. It is not the basis for certainty, rigid rules, authoritarianism, or uniformity, not about taste in worship services or sexuality. Matt’s definition works for tradition as well as rules: “guiding lights that draw you back, not fixed borders that disqualify you if you cross them”. How do we respect tradition while still following the creative moves of the Holy Spirit in our time?

4. I struggle with Bob’s questions about whether our actions really bring a significant change in the world. Does “living as tenants of a small fragile planet” conflict with the traditional picture of God providing everything? Can we live as if God provides abundance? Matt reminds us efficiency and productivity are not our standards for determining this. After all, the traditional logo of the faith is a guy hanging on a cross.

What does it mean to follow Jesus in our time and place? Try this more traditional lifestyle. It is the promise made by confirmands and new members in a Lutheran Church. One of our readers once reported how pleased she was that her daughter would promise to work for peace and justice in the earth. “She’ll never be asked to that again in her life”

Do you intend to continue in the covenant God made with you in Holy Baptism:
To live among God’s faithful people,
To hear his Word and share in his supper,
To proclaim the good news of God in Christ through word and deed,
To serve all people, following the example of our Lord Jesus,
And to strive for justice and peace in all the earth?

What do you think of this as a summary of the Christian life style? Is it too traditional? Is it general enough to embrace all those who belong to Christ’s family?

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