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?