Rituals, Traditions & Other Matters
The Religiously-correct Police
How frequently do people trade the freedom of relationship to shackle themselves to rituals or traditions for the sake of the ritual or tradition?
It is commonplace to resist the supernatural, while shaping our innate need for worship into customs that conform to the dictates of the religiously-correct police.
Those modern-day Pharisees are practitioners of religiosity, which can rapidly transform a dynamic faith experience into preservation mode.
Religiosity is stale, cold and dead; it is a death-sentence for spiritual vitality. Its driving concern is slotting people, places and issues into boxes that accommodate its image of what is right and proper. It is most comfortable when it fashions a theology that keeps God under its thumb.
Regardless of the complexities involved, religiosity has programmed answers to every question; religiosity tends to forget our limitations comprehending the vast mysteries that engulf us.
Nothing Left To Lose
The religiously-correct police have been around since the dawn of time. When confronted by that movement’s mandates in the first-century, the Apostle Paul wrote: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.Wow! Freedom in Christ is a powerful idea. An anthem-like line from the song Me & Bobby McGee can be illustrative of relationship in Christ: “Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose…”
To make a genuine connection with Christ we must be emptied of pride and self-reliance. We must finally acknowledge that we have nothing left to lose and nothing left to hang onto; we surrender what we are to his Lordship. With this step, freedom takes its foothold in our heart and we begin an exciting journey.
Freedom Equals Responsibility
Freedom equals responsibility so how does that play out as we are immersed in decadent surroundings? To remain faithful while encountering and evaluating our degenerate culture is not an easy task. God grants us the freedom of relationship, which requires great effort. All too often we reject freedom, preferring the safety of reliably devout phrases that soothe us.
Freedom of relationship means that we are responsible to cultivate our personal spiritual condition; we must work out our salvation in “fear and trembling.” It is incumbent for us to figure out how to walk the balance beam between freedom and the straitjacketed thinking proclaimed by the religiously-correct police.
"Christian" As Opposed To "UnChristian"
Religiously-correct patterns are so deeply ingrained that the artistic creativity of our culture is routinely designated “Christian” or “unChristian”.
Labeling art “Christian” or “unChristian” is the full flowering of a religiously-correct mindset. It’s a cushy and convenient way to avoid putting our brain into gear. Since Christian literally means Christ-follower, how is it possible to attach it as a prefix to any art form?
Art in any expression cannot be "Christian", because books, movies, theatre, music, paintings or whatever are inanimate objects; inanimate objects cannot follow Christ or be in relationship with the Father. Art can be moral, immoral or amoral. It can explore moral, immoral or amoral themes and elements, but inanimate objects cannot be "Christian" or "unChristian".
Whether an artist acknowledges that their talent is a gift from God doesn't change the fact that God is the giver of every good gift. Can good gifts be corrupted, misused and abused? Most definitely, but no matter how terribly God's good gifts are defiled something of the Giver is evident in the gift. Even the most debased sculpture or foulest rock lyrics have redemptive qualities because they demonstrate the hopelessness of life outside of Jesus Christ.
Salt & Light
The central tension in every disciple's life ought to be about developing eyes of discernment because our calling as God’s people is to take on the fallen culture on its turf to actively redeem it. We are to be engaged in the world as salt and light; we were not rescued from pits of despair to hide out in a sanitized subculture, but too often that is exactly what happens.
We cannot separate our lives into “Christian” and “unChristian” compartments; we must not withdraw from the culture just because its music, movies or other artwork disturb religiously-correct sensibilities.
Questions & Answers
Poets, painters and artists in general ask the great questions of life. We who follow Christ are stewards of the answers. We have been entrusted with the truth and commissioned to share it with everyone. How can we possibly accomplish that if we fall lockstep in line with the religiously-correct police?
What pleases God is authenticity in relationship. To achieve that, the freedom of grace must continually infiltrate every nook and cranny of our lives. Only then will rituals be the vibrant traditions that illuminate our blank-check commitment to the precepts and principles of God’s Word.
- Wanted Man
Wanted Man a.k.a. Ken R. Abell, seeks to be a blessing to others. He's a rake, a rambler, and a teller of tales who understands that there is strength in a story well told and well lived. To learn more, inquire or schedule him, visit this web site.
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