The Amazing Destructive Power of Tradition
After more than thirty years of studying the Bible I can say with full assurance that Jesus Christ never contradicted himself. There is one instance where it would seem that he did but after careful examination I found that rather than a contradiction it ends up being more of an enigma.
In Matthew 24:35 Jesus said?Heaven and earth shall pass away but my words shall not pass away. The Bible has lasted through every kind of onslaught that has ever been thrown at it through the centuries. It still causes debate and resistance among some, and conversion and new found life for millions of others. Be it yea or nay it won't go away. In a contrasting statement Jesus said something that almost seems diametrically opposite to what he uttered in Matthew 24:35. In Mark 7:13 Jesus said?Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye. Hold the phone! You mean the entire world and its doubts and resistance can't remove or lessen the word of God but tradition can? Yes, and it is the only thing according to scripture that can so effectively do this.
Some traditions are quaint and some are innocuous but when it comes to religious traditions this is not the case. Religion is stifled and beaten to the point of impotence by tradition. It is what makes true the saying that the seven last words of a dying, gasping, pointless and apostate church will be?We have always done it that way.
How has Catholicism found seven sacraments in a Bible that gives to us only two outward ceremonial ordinances, which are, water baptism and the communion? How has one protestant church added foot washing as a tradition and even elevated that to a sacrament? How have countless liturgies, ceremonies, ordinances and practices crept into Christianity over the centuries? The answer is tradition as usual. It is the traditions of the fathers or patristic teachings, the ceremonies of the celebrated like our pastors, preachers bishops and yes, the Pope. These have added to the overshadowing construct of outward and often meaningless practices in our churches. This construct is now so heavily layered that it is obscuring the simple but profound life giving qualities of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. It indeed has succeeded in many churches to make the word of God of no effect.
Odd as it may sound it seems that most people expect tradition and religion to be connected together at the hip. The Bible does not agree with this assumption. In fact the word?religion, is used only five times in the entirety of the Bible. And only once is it used to define what religion is. That definition doesn't look anything like what our religious practices have become. James said?Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction and to keep himself unspotted from the world. James 1:27
Religious traditions have an assuring quality that the human psyche can't very well resist. It assuages us to see the cathedral long standing, and its ministers appropriately garbed in robes and vestments. It gives us the idea that they must be professionals if nothing else, the proof is apparent in the trappings and all the blaring visuals. But Christ never prescribed any sort of adornment for us or our churches. And the idea that Christian traditions or any other religious traditions are firmly established by their longevity is a mindless absurdity. Crimes, war, disasters, floods, famines, disease, are all as old as man but none of these are given any traditional significance. These things are never memorialized, missalized, or traditionalized. That some religious traditions are ancient serves only to point out mans persistence in idolatry and the practice of the mundane.
Some say they love the ceremonies and the liturgies of the church. Perhaps they do, but it behooves anyone to scrutinize the reasons for such a love. Is it practical, does it lead to the salvation of others? Or is it a place to hide, a place to get a dose of something much like the tiny dose of a disease that is contained in an inoculation. Isn't this little dose all that keeps us from getting the real thing? If God is the real thing, then don't we need more than a little dose?
Can people who are connected to churches that are heavily dependent on traditions be saved? Of course they can because their faith, although not often bolstered by these traditions, cannot be destroyed by them either. It will be true for millions of people in the end that they were not saved by their religion, but in spite of it. Thank God for the grace of God.
Rev Bresciani is the leader of a non-denominational ministry in the New Orleans area. He has written many articles over the past thirty years in such periodicals as Guideposts and Catholic Digest. He is the author of two books available on Amazon.com, Alibris, Barnes and Noble and many other places. Rev Bresciani wrote, Hook Line and Sinker or What has Your Church Been Teaching You, published by PublishAmerica of Baltimore MD. He also wrote a book about to be released by Xulon Press entitled An American Prophet and His Message, Questions and Answers on the Second Coming of Christ. Rev Bresciani has his own website http://americanprophet.org
The Emmaus Journal ~ Quietness
The Emmaus Journal
Stay With It!
I walked out of his office inspired. All I could immediately recall were those soft-spoken words, "STAY WITH IT". They were from no less a person than Rev. Sam Adeyemi of Success Power fame, on whom I had gone to pay a courtesy call. The first time we met was two years earlier when he came to my campus to speak to students about success. Then I was an undergraduate with a fledging media outfit and, most naturally, the privilege fell on me to interview him for a story for my readers.
Basic Buddhism - Doing What is Right
I find of particular interest in the Eastern Religions many threads that survive in other, later, belief systems. Not only do they survive in textual fact, but they seem to be super relevant to New Age and reformed movements. I speak especially of Right Action, Positive Thought, Positive Action, seeing only Good in all things and all people and believing in a Oneness.
Anam Cara - Losing your Religion
I am sitting before a window of morning light "losing my religion."
Sissys Show of Support
I had been fighting with the software program that I used to build my website. The software program had a bug in it and would occasionally anger the main brains of my computer. Without warning, my computer would lock the program shut and forbid me to enter the website's file. I never knew from day to day which time I saved the file and closed it would be the last time I'd be able to open it. It didn't happen very often, but when it happened, it was like the file no longer existed. My computer had put an invisible prison wall around it and I was no longer allowed to enter in and work within the file. I would have to recreate the website from scratch every time this happened.
Call To Action
Direct Answers - Column for the week of February 3, 2003
Direct Answers - Column for the week of October 7, 2002
Change Your Landscape by Seeing with New Eyes
A Story (Source Unknown) ? One day a very wealthy father took his son on a trip to the country for the sole purpose of showing his son how it was to be poor. They spent a few days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family. Upon return from their trip, the father asked his son how he liked the trip. "It was great, Dad," the son replied. "Did you see how poor people can be?" the father asked. "Oh, yeah," said the son. "So what did you learn from the trip?" continued the father. The son answered, "I saw that we have one dog and they had four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night. Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon. We have a small piece of land to leave on and they have fields that go beyond our sight. We have servants who serve us, but they serve others. We buy our food, but they grow theirs. We have walls around our property to protect us, they have friends to protect them." The boy's father was speechless. Then the son added this last remark: "It showed me how poor we truly are."
What is the Meaning of Life?
A young man in search of enlightenment had traveled to Tibet at great expense and more than a little consternation amongst his family and friends. It was a week before he was allowed to speak with a red-capped administrator of the Dalai Lama's personal staff; in the meantime he enjoyed the wondrous sights of the Himalayas. The people of the countryside had welcomed him and he was learning their language slowly. They had made it clear no one got to talk to the Dalai Lama and ask a personal question unless they had waited a long time and shown proper respect and intent.
Direct Answers - Column for the week of May 5, 2003
Personal Fear of Change and How to Change It!
It's interesting how we intellectually know that tomorrow will be different from yesterday, or even different from today. We know this based on experience. Wasn't it only yesterday computers started appearing on people's office desks? And now today, some of those people who cursed the wretched new things, rage when theirs or anyone else's computer is down! Tomorrow will not be the same as yesterday. We know it. And yet, many of us go through change and feel battle fatigue, look worn out, whine loudly.
A Word Fitly Spoken ~ Acceptance
A WORD FITLY SPOKEN
A Perspective on Life!
All of our lives we always seem to direct our concern toward attempting to conclude our life path or destiny in this lifetime without really knowing or understanding what this means to us. In reality the importance lies not in trying to determine our life path or destiny, but, in effect of how much growth we accomplish within one lifetime. So you are not condemned if you make one or two mistakes from time to time! The importance in reality in the acceptance of the situation, then the understanding of what you've come to learn and move on in your life. At the end of that particular lifetime, it is measured if we succeeded to meet our intended life path and the relevance is in what amount of growth that we were capable of achieving in that lifetime.
Direct Answers - Column for the week of March 31, 2003
Direct Answers - Column for the week of January 20, 2003
The Amazing Power of the Human Will
The human will is the most incredible thing. I believe it is the human will that keeps us going, when everyone else expects us to sit, or even quit. I have always been fascinated by the heroes and sheroes who have made indelible marks in world history; and illustrated distinguished triumphs over seemingly, insurmountable adversity.
Dreams Keep Us Going
The eyes are the portals of the inner self; the doorway to the soul. If you will look into someone's eyes you will either see the glossy reflection of light, the life of the soul, or you will see a dull non-reflective image of darkness.
Tsunamis in the Bible?
I have always wondered how the Red Sea parted as described in the Exodus story of Moses.
Your Turn On The Holodeck
Good morning Roy, good morning Joseth.
I tremble at the thought that millions of people suffer enough to entertain a death wish. Perhaps it is as common a component of the psyche as suffering is a widespread phenomenon among humans. I suppose it is normally counterbalanced by the appetite for life, which joy and hope can whet, but is it ever overturned? Probably not, at least not for long, and that worries me. Could numerous instances of big-risk-taking be death-wish-related? Overeating, smoking, speeding, every human deed that is potentially lethal, including war, may be symptomatic of a death wish, all the more pernicious as it is usually denied or concealed behind other motives.
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