Archive for the ‘ Tradition ’ Category
“Happy Palm Sunday,” I told a friend on Facebook chat as I greeted her. It had been a long time since I’d spoken with her, so I was pleased to see her name pop up. But I was more pleased about the day.
“Happy Passover!” she responded cheerfully, surprising me slightly and making me think. It wasn’t that Passover had slipped my mind, though it’s true that I don’t pay much attention to the Jewish calendar. It was more that it made me start wondering why some people celebrate some holidays, but not others. This past month, for example, I have had to explain what Lent is to some new person at least once every two days.
Christianity is a religion with a lot of holidays. A lot. At the very least, every Sunday is Lord’s Day, and on higher church calendars one can generally count on there being something else being observed, besides. Which is why I’ve always been confused by Christians who get offended by being told “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” in December. Continue reading
What it is to Know God. — Tendency of this Knowledge.
In the second chapter of his work, Calvin clarifies a bit of what he said in the first chapter, and building on it. In some ways it complicates the issue, at least for my purposes here. Calvin and I — indeed, any two humans — have different frameworks in mind, and we’re both bringing personal baggage to this discussion.* It’s one thing when Calvin says, “Knowledge of God increases knowledge of ourselves, and vice versa” and I say “Jean, I completely agree.” But now Calvin says “And what I mean by knowledge is…”, and it turns out I break with him.
What we have here, then, is the first break between the Wesleyan (or at least, this Wesleyan) and Calvin’s thought. It’s subtle maybe, and perhaps not what some might expect at casual first glance. But it’s emblematic of the larger issues, as I will try to show.
I’m going to go out on a limb here — I don’t think there’s a single line in Chapter 1 of Calvin’s work I disagree with. If anything, it’s far more true than I realized when I first read it years ago. Part of that may be due to a changed position: I first read Calvin as a seeker, not sure which branch of Christianity I belonged in and, in that position, the new (and often confusing) options Calvin brought that I had never considered were bewildering and hard. In the years since, however, I like to think I’m a modicum wiser: I have lived more, sinned more, confessed more, and been forgiven for more. I am home in the Anglican church, and so I have a ground to stand on as I read. And, I find Calvin’s opening chapter not only acceptable, but tested and proven. Continue reading
Once upon a time there were two were Christians, Anabelle and Bart. Anabelle and Bart both loved Jesus very much, and had ever since they were children. However, both were from very different traditions of Christianity.
Anabelle had been taught in a paradigm some call “Calvinism.” She had been told that God had elected all Christians before the world began, and that Christ had died for the elect. The salvation of the elect was assured and could not be lost, but only God knew who the elect were. There were some who claimed to be Christians, but continued living lives of sin. Those “Christians” were not part of the elect — they were either lying, or had deceived themselves.
Anabelle served God as best as she could, but of course, she often sinned… leaving her with almost unbearable guilt. Continue reading
I recently argued for the Importance of History over at my blog. I was trying to figure out what to write here, and decided that I should expand my argument there into one that I have been known to make: an argument for the importance of tradition, especially in the Christian context.