Tradition vs. Traditionalism

Jesus H. Christ

Jesus H. Christ (Photo credit: angelofsweetbitter2009)

Sunday’s homily was quite inspirational. The gist of the message had to do with something I’ve been thinking and saying for a long time: fundamentalism is the evil side of religion. We shouldn’t confuse “tradition” with “traditionalism,” also known as “fundamentalism.” If we get hung up with the letter of the law, we miss out on the true message of Christ (the “spirit” of the law).

Our enlightened pastor wisely characterized “traditionalism” as “the living voice of the dead,” and “tradition” as “the dead voice of the living.” By this I believe he meant that people today are way too centered on the rules and regulations of the church, of trying to condemn everyone who doesn’t agree with them or who doesn’t follow along the path of some strict ideology. This attitude is reminiscent of the sin of Pride, an attitude which makes people believe that they are the sole possessors of the Truth. This righteous attitude permeates everything that they do and say, making them intolerant and uncharitable towards others. This is NOT the message of Jesus Christ. Regardless of what institutionalized religion may want us to do; regardless of how they may want us to behave, regardless of how they may want us to THINK.

Tradition helps us grow in our faith. The Church is a tool for us to put our faith into action through works of love. People who go “by the book” are not following in Jesus’ spirituality. We must follow Jesus’ tradition and not the traditionalism of the Pharisees. We must let God work through us, trust in His power and not be influenced by fundamentalists‘ attempts to force us to think like they do, merely to justify their own lack of faith.

Let’s think about these things when it comes time to decide who we want to follow: Jesus or the Pharisees. Compassion or righteousness.

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