Culture and tradition “v”
different culture and different tradition.
How often does the bible get caught up in the middle? Preferred verses (we would never call “proof texts”) that are used to defend one “preference and culture” over another.
It surprises me more and more, chatting to those who consider themselves mature Christians – open-minded and non-denominational and non-Christian-tradition folk – that almost all have made personal culture and preference their new “tradition” – and who then defend “that” in the same way as those who defend mainstream “Christian tradition”: “because the bible says so.”
Here’s the bible …
“While Jesus was speaking, a Pharisee invited him to dine with him; so he went in and took his place at the table. The Pharisee was amazed to see that he did not first wash before dinner. Then the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You fools! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? So give for alms those things that are within; and see, everything will be clean for you.”” Luke 11:37-41
I wonder if you have time for this small ponder … ?
That “mature Christians” aren’t those who reach an elevated understanding of the bible. Who don’t achieve maturity through clocking-up years of hard
kingdom work and / or bible study. Who never become mature “that way” … But who become “mature Christians” when each finds no need at all for “because the bible says so”.
A resting place where each has an instinctive and immediate “knowing” of what is right / wrong – who can spot an inequality in love from ten miles away – who is troubled inside every time – who cannot rest where there in an inequality in love – but who never need quote the bible – a preferred verse – in response (ever).
Because when there is an inequality in love, why do we need the bible at all? Because isn’t the story of Jesus a story of One who did not need the bible at all?
And shouldn’t we all be the essence of God without any need for a particular verse (to say whether we should or shouldn’t)? Doesn’t it make any sense that, as a mature Christian, we don’t “need the bible” to live a life of love where there are always inequalities in love?
And isn’t there a curious “inequality in love” where those who are unchurched and not yet saved often know and respond to inequalities in love much more than those who are churched and saved? I hear that referred to as “popular opinion” – a secular tide of “being relevant” that the church
must should resist (guess why?): “because the bible says so”.
Perhaps only when
personal “culture and tradition” and “because the bible says so” become an unnecessary and of themselves obvious “inequality in love” might we regard ourselves as “mature” at all?