Thursday, June 19, 2008

Hollywood Must-Read

Tradtionalism is not Legalism

Here's the intro:

George Carlin once quipped that anyone driving slower than you is an "idiot" and anyone driving faster than you is a "maniac."

Of course, this is because the sinful nature sees itself as, like the third bowl of porridge: "just right."

In the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod, especially exacerbated by the multiplicity of electronic media, there is a real culture of trying to bully people into being Just Like Me. You will see it pretty often these days, be it on blogs, in social networking sites, or on e-lists. The self-styled "confessional Lutherans" often berate the emerging movement, the contemporary worship faction, or the church growth industry for not being reverent and traditional enough. Their opponents often reply by playing (in the words of Rev. Todd Wilkin) "the Pharisee card." In other words, the "confessional Lutherans" are denounced by their less liturgical counterparts for "legalism" and for being "Pharisees." Of course, the characterization is unfair and a poor substitute for rational and churchmanly debate and discourse.

But, the game goes the other direction. There is a movement of traditionalism, not only in Lutheran circles, but also among the Roman Catholic, Reformed, and even neo-Evangelical branches of the Church Catholic. Creeds and confessions are being dusted off. Churches that have been hesitant to use the traditional church year and the lectionary are taking them out for a spin. Chasubles and incense are cautiously being reintroduced in liturgical churches - even in America where minimalism and anti-Roman hysteria has skewed Lutheranism and Anglicanism in a more Protestant direction than the confessional writings and tradition of those communions confess on paper.

But the traditionalist movement is being ridiculed as legalism by the "confessional Lutheran" faction in the same way that the "confessional Lutherans" are often mischaracterized by their opponents. And the impersonality of the internet emboldens a sense of rudeness that is far less likely in a more personal forum.


  1. Rev. Eric J Brown said...

    Do you see how a class with Beane and myself it in could be a lot of chaotic fun?

  2. Anastasia Theodoridis said...

    And here I thought that distinction between drivers who are idiots and drivers who are maniacs was my brother's he's in for some ribbing!