To Listen While Reading


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Tradition: The Most Valuable Source? A Valuable Source At All?

I've been thinking lately about the source of tradition in use of theology. Theologians claim four sources for doing theology: Scripture, tradition, reason, and experience. You've already heard me rip apart and book back together Scripture and now I'm thinking about tradition.
I've noticed lately the inclination that some people have towards listening too intently to others, throughout history and in the here and now/modern age. By listening too intently I mean listening to gain something from them selfishly. To gain some truth, some knowledge, some hope that you're not wrong or some secret about God. I see people studying the church fathers and modern pastors and every single thing in life too intently, so much so that, as much as they claim they don't, they begin to listen to rely on them for affirmation. They are looking for some outlet to agree with, to argue their point-of-view, to do something other than just listen. There always seems to be an agenda, doesn't there? I even have heard people say that we should listen, and then they turn around and say that's what being a good Christian is about. Even pleasing God is an agenda, as if He isn't already pleased. I know it's good to be a good listener, but not because it's what good Christians do and certainly not to gain something/some nugget of wisdom from someone so selfishly. No shame, but that's just selfish.
To me, I see every single human being as a gift. I see that everyone around me is learning about life in some way or another. Religiously and unreligiously (hopefully the latter). Seeing everyone as a gift, I long to JUST live in community with each person, living and yes, learning from them, but just because I'm friends with them. To learn from them is not a goal, but I know it is a natural bi-product and that rules. I simply long to share in intimacy, vulnerability, and to ask people if they're feeling loved; I long to love and that is IT. I don't wish to glean something from anybody, I just want to hear them out because that's how I love them because I WANT to, not because it's my Christian duty to. As for the church fathers, I just want to hear them out, that's all. I want to consider their thoughts in such a way that honors them as human beings just figuring life out, not to craft my own belief system off their thoughts. Not to leech off them. Not to make a new doctrine. Not to argue something. Just to rest and put my arm around my friend from the past and love them for who they were.
I'm sick of all the debates, I'm sick of all the tradition having actual "say" in our lives. Let love inform you, that's all you need, I promise.
Thank ya!

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