Thursday, January 31, 2008


I love the movie "Fiddler on the Roof".
As I watched it again the other night, I noticed something for the first time. In the montage that accompanies the opening song "Tradition" all of the flashes are of jewish religious iconography: tabernacles, places of worship, acts of worship and the torah. This was significant to me because what the song and imagery was saying was that the tradition upon which they based their lives was based on the word and worship of God.I can't say that about my traditions. As a New Orleans native, I live in a culture steeped in tradition...little of which has anything to do with God, his word or his worship.

I remember when I first became a Christian, the forsaking of these traditions was to me the first natural order of business. This was also the real problem my parents had with my conversion. They were cherished traditions, held by generation after generation in my family. New Years is a time to get as drunk as possible and then eat black eyed peas and cabbage the next day. Mardi Gras was as obligatory as church on Christmas and Easter, and also required one to get as drunk as possible while their children were perched precariously on their shoulders or atop a rickety, unstable ladder seat. Easter was about crawfish and egg pocking...and lots of beer.

So pretty much our tradition was drinking. Birthday parties, government holidays, sunday afternoon football games, we'd find a reason to celebrate...a lot.

When I became a believer, I did't refuse to participate in family functions, just all of the other things that went along with them. And if the family function coincided with church, I showed up late...much to their chagrin.

I didn't like upsetting my family, but I'd been grafted into a holy family, a royal priesthood and I was adopting new traditions.

In his opening song/montage, Tevye goes on to talk a bit about this very thing. He says that because of God's word "everyone knows who He is and what God expects of Him."

My traditions told me what everyone else expected of me, but gave me no clue as to who I was, really, or what God had to say. It flew in the face of that very thing, and when I came to God and begain to walk in the traditions and precepts He set forth, it flew in the face of my old traditions.
This is a difficult transition, but a necessary one for anyone who calls himself "Christian."

What do your traditions say? To whom do they speak? Of whom do they speak? Do they tell you who you are and what God expects of you?It would be wise for each of us take these questions and a pliable heart to the Lord and see what He has to say.

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