March 1, 2011

Thought for 03.01.11

Tradition is often little more than the Zeitgeist of the past.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG

8 comments:

Tim said...

There is truth in what you say, but I would remind that Tradition has value still.

Without understanding where we have been, we do not appreciate where we are nor grasp where we are headed.

Those things from the past should neither be enshrined nor discarded out of hand.

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

Exactly, Tim. The problem I have is with those who privilege antiquity at the expense of present knowledge. A balanced approach is best, one that "tests everything" in order to discern what is right.

Tim said...

Quite so. Having seen both extremes in proximity, I am well aware of the harm that ensues when one tries to a binary approach.

Of course, if you try to walk the middle path, one has to actually _think_ and decide for yourself what is right.

hmmm...Where have I heard those words before, "why don't you decide for yourself what is right?"

:)

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

Great observation. Jesus appears to want people to walk in righteousness not as blind automatons, but as discerning people who choose what is right: to be autonomous rather than an automaton. Conservatives are frightened of (and bad-mouth) autonomy, in spite of their high praise for "the Created Order" and "God's plan" -- unwilling to accept that freedom is what God created and planned for humanity!

It is, of course, this capacity that opens the door for error or sin -- but that is how we were created. If humans were not created with the capacity to sin, we could not have sinned! This is such a logical truth it escapes the attention of many moralists.

R said...

This is why I prefer the phrase "living tradition" --

Living, as in dynamic, reinterpreted, and re-engaged generation to generation rather than ossified.

Tim said...

If we do not have the capability to freely discern and choose what is right (or wrong), then our lives are nothing but wayang kulit where God plays puppet-master and we are the spirit/shadows.

The Predestination thought process which comes from that wellspring may work for some, and blessings be upon them. My experience with the Divine is VERY different from that.

As far as sin (ἥμαρτον, "to miss the mark") is concerned, it is nigh impossible to avoid it (a certain Nazarene being the singular exception). We must trust in Spirit-filled conscience to guide us like a sherpa through the dark mountain passes, in the benefice of the Divine for when we do stumble, and in ourselves to stand back up one more time than fall down.

Tim said...

@R: Thus the difference between custom and tradition (note the lower case).

Custom is something which is performed frequently enough in a specific manner that it becomes ritualized. It's static.

Tradition (with a small 't') is what you are referring to...something which is conserved, reinterpreted and retransmitted by each succeeding generation.

Further ramblings about this sort of thing here.

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

Good points Tim, on both counts. An explanation for the reason that Nazarene is the exception comes from Patristic careful reading of Scripture: humans are "in" the image of God, but Jesus "is" the image of God. We are "after" the likeness, but he is the likeness itself! What in us is a warring dialogue of the inclinations to good and evil (the yetzerim ha ra v' ha tov), which form the inclination to self and from self, in Christ are perfectly united towards God.