This is the message I gave a few weeks back at George Fox Chapel. I’ve been meaning to post the manuscript but haven’t had a chance.
_Tradition is Dead, Tradition is Alive
I think I am an unlikely candidate for Quaker week. I am like the majority of you; I did not grow up a Quaker, I didnt grow up in a Quaker-mecca like Newberg and didnt become a Friend until my 20s. I had no idea who George Fox was, wasnt he that guy in the recent Wes Anderson film (fantastic mr. fox)? I didnt know anything about the awesome Quaker history of being involved in Native American rights, the underground railroad and movements like womens suffrage.
I grew up a nominal Catholic. I went to parochial schools (or as I usually say, I did my time there…) and visited mass only irregularly. Growing up I wasnt even really sure I knew what it meant to Catholic. Then through a complicated set mostly tragic events my family began attending a small, fairly conservative and charismatic, non-denominational church. This is where I began to learn to read the bible, and took part in more church-based activities. If at the Catholic church I was an observer, this new church is where I became more of an active participant. But the church was also one of those non-denominational churches that are fairly anti-denominational, but they do it in a kind of denominational way if you know what I mean? In other words, I had a major suspicions about words like denomination and tradition by the time I left home for college.
And isnt it the case that in an America influenced by creatives such as Steve Jobs we prize above everything innovation, newness, and individual expression? The thought that one of us might be seen with a Myspace page, let alone an first generation iPhone would be almost to much to bear (professors?!). In this ideology, old equals obsolete and tradition equals a liability. Continue Reading…