A personally resonating quote from a very popular source these days
From my newly aquired Anglo-Catholic blog friend Jeff I find these words:
'Trends' in the Church are ...serious, especially to those accustomed to find in it a solace and a 'pax' in times of temporal trouble, and not just another arena of strife and change.
As much as I like this quote, I'd say there are much more serious problems with "trends" in Christianity rather than it just making us traditionalists feel uncomfortable. Tradition (paradosis) has been so maligned in these last few decades (perhaps centuries?), and it is really quite unfortunate because let's face it, the material with which our religion was built is Tradition. Many christians are so anti-tradition that they actually try and use the New Testament to deride it...to the point that they are even willing to deliberately mistranslate the namesake of my blog when the NT speaks favorably of the term.
What, of my christian faith, will I hand down to my children and how will I do that? Will I simply fill them with head knowledge of Christ and hopefully some semblance of an example of how we should behave as christians (God help them if I rely too much on that!)? Or will I, like the ancient Church, pass on to them a living Tradition: A cornucopia-esque body of beliefs and practices that communicate an encompassing truth? Let me elaborate:
The Litrugy, the Holy Mysteries, the Prayers, the Life of the Saints, the Holy Scritpures, the writings of the Fathers and Mothers, the Councils, and the Creed do not make up the body of Tradition because somebody at some point in history thought them "cool." Rather they are landmarks left by the Fathers. (Proverbs 22:28) And this is the Body of Tradition I will hand down to my children.
As we look derisively at the "unenlightened" traditions of the past, we feel free to begin to make changes. We teach our children that change is good and that all that really matters is that we maintain the essentials. (By the way, how do we decide what is "essential"?) We make small changes, our children make their own changes, and their children in turn make their changes. Before long, things are looking pretty radically different. But, thats okay, right? The real question is: has what had been deemed essential been altered? Uh-oh! Perhaps what we considered essential changed? Are we on the road to Nilhism?
If we ignore landmarks from the Fathers, what can we expect our children to do with any landmarks we attempt to leave them? Each generation is left to figure it out on their own. Some have already abandoned the New Testament, some question the miracles, some reject the sacraments, some turn christianity into a social philosophy or worse yet a politic, some hold christianity up as one truth amongst many, some feel the freedom to pick and chose from the Scriptures, some believe that Jesus died to make us healthy and wealthy, and who are we to tell them that they are wrong? How can we tell them that they are wrong? Except to say that they have walked away from the ancient landmarks left by the Fathers. Landmarks that are neccesary, I think, to truly tell us what Christianity is. And It's not a dead historical issue waiting to be rediscovered...it is alive. It must be, no?
I worry about our society whose hindsight is rarely used and when it is, is nothing but arrogance. You can see it in how we treat our elders...they are a burden to us and we leave them in our trailblazing dust on the way to collectively bow before the god of newness. New new new....forget the old. It is progress for the sake of progress...not unlike the Titanic, such blind arrogance will founder. I think we are beginning to see such in the moral decay around us. Why is it that we christians are so quick to condemn the material cult of newness, but cannot seem to bring ourselves to critically see the same in our own spirituality? What has become of our landmarks?
The tyranny of the newest, be it toys, gadgets, and trends...what is the difference? I'm with Tolkien, let the world run with them - like scissors - but the Church has no need of such things.
...offered by Dn. fdj, a sinner at 10:42 AM [+]