Thursday, August 23, 2007

What "Traditional" means to me


becky's comment on my last post caused me to think about describing my idea of the "traditional" church...you know its really hard to get on the same page with people and all of us are coming from our own matrix, the view we have as determined from our upbringing, secular forces, current times and lingo....
to many people the word traditional in the context of church, brings to mind something high and orthodox...Catholic, Episcopal, or Anglican, something with robes and ceremony...to others it means the church of their fathers...which could be Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Pentecostal, with hearty preaching and singing... and more programs than you can shake a stick at.
The newer more casual churches...the mega churches, seeker churches, contemporary churches, and the like, even most house churches..these are what most consider to be outside of tradition...to be cutting edge...God's new move...and well they may be...He is never still, constantly moving though sometimes it appears it is two steps forward and three steps back...however none of these really fit into my mentality of being truly outside of tradition..though in some aspect they may be, still each of them fits into the basic mold of "how to have church" mostly made up by man.

This factor in its self is what makes them all traditional to me.

No matter how you dress them up each of them still has the basic "one person leading everyone else sitting in front of them listening" the "clergy/laity" mentality...the "greater/lesser" mentality... this works just fine for a while, after all, the disciples sat at Jesus' feet and listened....they followed Him around and watched too...and for a while they did a few little chores for Him and with Him...but one day all that came to an end...He physically left them...then the Church was born and She was glorious! and He was alive in Her, living on the earth again!
...too big, too wild and too wonderful to fit into the traditions of men....She met everywhere She could, every time She could, in every scenario imaginable...with or without someone to stand in front of Her and explain how it was done...She was in close communion with Her Lord and She figured it out as She went along, He stood in front of Her and explained how it should be done....she exploded the bonds of tradition and touched Him in ways never before seen or imagined. It took several hundred years before man could get the harness back on her... but of course over time she calmed down like a good girl and man could once again get in front of Her... in the traditional way....which is where the church stands today in most places you look.....containable and managable...dare I say broken...or at least bridled.

....but let me tell you this...shhh let me whisper it lest "they" hear...and you know who "they" are.... :)

Around the world there are exceptions to this standard...there are small pockets of resistance....saints who meet together in ways other than the "traditional"....ways that might seem strange to other believers...but brothers and sisters are there...seeking Him out...living gloriously as the Church, often by trial and error, but as much as possible, considering our modern matrix, following Him outside of tradition... Let me tell you, She still exists with the same wild and uncontainable exuberance of Acts...She still lives in freedom...and, I hate to break it to you...its almost always outside of tradition....
Needless to say, that is where I want to be...Free to love Him, to follow Him, to explore His realm....I truly hope this is the kind of Christian experience you are living in...the kind with Him in front!

Can you tell that when it comes to church, I'm not into tradition?

23 comments:

bjk said...

both frightening and attractive....wondering where I am?? wondering where He wants us...good stuff to wrestle with Cheryl...good stuff both of these last two posts.

everydayRANDOM said...

I loved you so much already - didn't think I could love you more but after this post, I DO !!!!

Not being raised in the church and by an extremely untraditional family, you have given me hope. I had a little glimmer of hope this week when I received an email of just fierce non-tradition you speak of. I dare say, I have not felt that burn in a long time but don't have to as long as I know it is happening somewhere to someone.
I come to Christ's Bride with some hard feelings, a sense of betrayal and little hope of seeing change. Maybe it is tradition I am fighting instead of being the mega church or preaching a health/wealth gospel. You are absolutely right. He will, no, He is here and He is working, whether I see it or not. Thank you my friend for parching my thirst today. I love ya!!!

Becky said...

hey you! like the post! i have come to question every thing "traditional" and read my acts and after to see if i can find it. i was surprised what was NOT there.
much love!

jayjay said...

So very well put, Cheryl. For all that we are a tiny group of ten or so, it is a habitat I could not do without. She is small but FREE and beautiful here in New Zealand. I thank God I am part of her.

KayMac said...

awesome...have to link this on my blog!!

Bek said...

i'm right with ya, cheryl. right with ya. HIS KINGDOM is what exites me! HIS PLANS AND PURPOSES!

Deborah and Sally said...

Wow, great post Cheryl !!

"She's" also here in Elizabethtown, Kentucky - FREE to be FREE !

I LOVE the freedom that you talk about, I experience it everyday.

I pray you do as well :)

Deborah

Tammy said...

Funny you should have a post such as this...check this site out when you get a chance...Yes...there is a GodTube!

http://www.godtube.com/view_video.php?viewkey=240ad5b9b413aa7346a1&page=&viewtype=&category=

Gina said...

Amen Cheryl!

Danielle B. Blogging for Balance said...

Well Cheryl...as an admirer who is always able to ask you the hard questions and get an honest answer...I love this post!! you have expressed quite brillantly all that I have been feeling lately. You are amazing!!

An Ordinary Christian said...

You can ALWAYS say that you love me! Oswald Chambers talks a lot in his devotional about sometimes we love our habit of being with the Lord better than the Lord, or we love our sense of traditional duty more than our relationship with the Lord. He says when we are sold out to Jesus Christ we are frequently misjudged and misunderstood by Christians because they evaluate us on duty and tradition but we just need to obey Him, not follow mere duty.

Eric said...

Thanks, Cheryl, for giving words to the Lord's Passion and yours. She is alive and blossoming here in the Netherlands, too. About 15 of us live in Her, and enjoy Him. And He enjoys Her around the world....
Your blog encourages and refreshes me over and over again. Hug!

J. Samuel Thomas said...

Hey Sis,
Ever been meme-ed?
Tag!
You're it!!
(c'mon...please?)

J. Samuel Thomas said...

OOPS!
Here's the link:
http://finishedwithreligion.blogspot.com/2007/08/oohh-oooh-me-me.html

Joni said...

I think each of us has a different place (wherever God has put us) in the body of Christ. A place where He can spread His love through us as unique individuals.

BTW, you got an award on my Thoughts Along the Journey Blog! Congrats!

BJ said...

I saw your name on PIA's ChatBox.
I just wanted you to know I have
a New Christian Chat Room. I hope
to meet you there.

http://www.freewebs.com/friendsareagift2/fellowshiphere.htm

Mrs. Mac said...

Nice post to read for someone crying for a simple solution to church.

Sarah said...

Fantastic post! You would love this book I've almost finished called: Jesus Has Left the Building. It's all about what you're talking about. That "church as we know it" is being ditched altogether (doesn't matter what "form" - it isn't about house churches or anything that just takes the same old baggage and pours old wine into a new wineskin). Anyway, I totally resonate with what you are saying. God is really up to something. I'm surprised to see this many positive responses to such a post. Keep on following Him, you are an inspiration!

Richard said...

As a practitioner of one of the older, more traditional faith traditions (Roman Catholic), I have always believed that "Church" is not that thing we do for an hour on Sunday, rather it is the community embodying a Christian life and lifestyle.

I like the traditions and rituals of my church because it provides me with a connection to the past, to the early church and to Judaism. However, outside the richness of the tradition, I, like you, am non-traditional. Traditions should serve to enrich our lives and to extol the divinity in each of us. Where these traditions become burdensome rules, mere acts without spirit, they serve no purpose.

Bek said...

hey, btw, i had a little award on my blog for ya....:)

Goody said...

You go girl! I am with you!

Richard said...

Amen!
His church is alive and well! And they gather wherever two or three are. Some of the best "church" we have is on the street corner, it's awesome!
Thanks,
Richard

Vikki said...

awesome post! I gew up in 'traditional church' but bailed when I was 17, got preggo by & then married an addict (a PK, surprised?). it's been quite the journey. My husband began a journey to recovery and together we have been learning and growing in Jesus, so grateful for his sacrifice and for healing us.

What we have been struggling with is how to reach our kids, so our kids don't go thru what we went thru: feeling disconnected from God and bound by rules and religion.

I loved reading your perspective

thanks