Wednesday, July 27, 2005

traditions vs. tradition

It has struck me lately that, in the debate over whether or not we’re going to get rid of “all these traditions”, it might be helpful to redefine the word by taking the S off the end. The difference?

Brian McLauren, in his book A Generous Orthodoxy, defines “tradition” as “a whole way of practice or way of life that includes systems of apprenticeship, a body of knowledge (of terms, history, lore), a wide range of know-how (skills, technique, ability), and something else—a kind of ‘unknown knowledge’ that philosopher Michael Polanyi calls personal knowledge: levels of knowledge that one has and knows but doesn’t even know one has and knows.”

Maybe, in the last fifty years or so, we as The Salvation Army have become too wrapped up in our traditions, rather than our tradition. Our traditions, of course, include things like uniforms, and brass bands, but our tradition describes a commitment to the vulnerable in the name of Jesus. That’s who we’s our tradition...and without it our traditions are kind of pointless.

Does my time show more of a committment to our traditions, or our tradition?

I captured this photo in my neighborhood today. It was on the side of a building. It could have come from Mexico but the graffiti makes it distinctly English.

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