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Rituals, Traditions & Other Matters

Updated on October 7, 2012
The religiously-correct police enforce a strict code.
The religiously-correct police enforce a strict code.

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.

Christ-followers are to be poured out & rubbed into our culture as a preservative.
Christ-followers are to be poured out & rubbed into our culture as a preservative.

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.

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    • Ken R. Abell profile imageAUTHOR

      Ken R. Abell 

      9 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      coffeesnob - Thanks for the affirmation. Blessings to you.

    • profile image

      coffeesnob 

      9 years ago

      Ken,

      I do agree that you articulate this truth so very well. "poured out and rubbed into our culture as a preservative." What a wonderful truth spoken to God's people about "developing eyes of discernment" All around good teaching here. Thanks

    • Ken R. Abell profile imageAUTHOR

      Ken R. Abell 

      9 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      The Rope - Thank you so much for your kind & encouraging words. I assure you I am human, with flaws & foibles aplenty. Mostly I merely grope around in the dark searching for truth to make sense out of the human condition, my condition.

    • The Rope profile image

      The Rope 

      9 years ago from SE US

      how do we know you are human? i've never found anyone who can articulate such absolute truth so well. i can't wait for friends comments and interaction from your hubs. the rest of us spend our days hiding behind the inane and staying the in the comfort zone.

    • Ken R. Abell profile imageAUTHOR

      Ken R. Abell 

      9 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      bayareagreatthing - Thank you. Glad we connected. Be encouraged & blessed on your faith-journey.

    • bayareagreatthing profile image

      bayareagreatthing 

      9 years ago from Bay Area California

      Wow!! A kindred spirit and brother! If i could write this in 72 pt. type I would when I say- THANK YOU! Just yesterday I started an article on freedom...and then here is yours. You have said so much here!

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 

      9 years ago

      Ken R Abel,

      This is really a great hub!

      When I step out my front door into the world I realize that as a child of God I must be aware of the spiritual warfare but not afraid. Discernment is very important!

      I like the example of salt and Light that you presented. Yes and what pleases God is "authenticity in relationship!" There is much freedom in knowing that absolutely nothing comes our way that HE is not aware of! God is so Awesome! God did not make us to be "Cookie Cutter Christians." He has a purpose for each one of us. Wonderful hub!

      I like what Gicky has to say as well it is important that we serve rather than sever our ties...

      Thank You for sharing

      Blessings

    • Ken R. Abell profile imageAUTHOR

      Ken R. Abell 

      9 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      Thank you, Gicky. And thanks for these words: "As God is in the business of delivering these entities through his acts of exodus, we are called to participate, not vacillate or retaliate, in the outworking of his redemptive plan." Very well stated.

    • Gicky Soriano profile image

      Gicky Soriano 

      9 years ago from California

      KRA, I like what you said, "our calling as God’s people is to take on the fallen culture on its turf to actively redeem it." Every entity, be it government, art, education, or even religion for that matter, though instituted by an exodus God to serve his purposes are fallen (Rom 13:1-4). As God is in the business of delivering these entities through his acts of exodus, we are called to participate, not vacillate or retaliate, in the outworking of his redemptive plan.

      Your hub is a healthy reminder that the people of God should actively engage the culture as "salt and light" and stay in-sync to serve rather than sever our ties to those in need of deliverance and freedom.

    • Ken R. Abell profile imageAUTHOR

      Ken R. Abell 

      9 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      And all God's people said, "AMEN!!!"

    • profile image

      eric hartshaw 

      9 years ago

      yes yes YES!!

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