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Saturday, January 06, 2007


I'm sitting here on a Saturday night watching Fiddler on the Roof. An interesting quote at the beginning of the movie:

Because of our traditions everyone of us knows who he is and what God expects him to do.

What are the consequences of living in a pluralistic society and culture where traditions are virtually non-existent? Or, perhaps traditions exist, but their meaning is far less significant than it used to be. After all, traditions are more of an interesting curiosity, not something that is so deeply meaningful that we invest in them our self-identity.

With the loss of tradition does that throw the self in flux? Do we no longer know who we are? Do we no longer know what God expects? Do we know longer have a stable idea of who God is? Do we lack a center - a loose composition of fragments of meaning strewn together to form a self?

Traditions provide stability. But don't take my word for it....

Without our traditions our lives would be as shaky as.....as a fiddler on the roof!


Melody said...

Perhaps we don't have a stable idea of who God is or what he expects.

A public discussion about God cannot even be had because of the wide range of beliefs about him.

Then again,if we stick to tradition, we may miss out on a God who is larger than those tradition.

Tradition does provide stability...but are we called to stability?

Dawn said...

"Then again,if we stick to tradition, we may miss out on a God who is larger than those tradition."

Amen sister!!

Jonathan Erdman said...

Hhhhhmmmmm....so, we are disagreeing with Tevye?!!?

Ok. I agree with the above point. However, even Tevye changes. He allows his first two daughters to break with tradition on some romantic issues. Ah, but then he draws the line when it comes to the third daughter because she is wanting to marry a non-Jew......Don't we all have the lines we will never cross???

Melody said...

But what is it that makes us not cross those lines?

Tevye could break with tradition for his daughter's marrying poor men they loved...because the alternative was simply something that had been done for quite a while.

He didn't give his stamp of approval on the last marriage because he believed God did not want the Jews to marry non-jews (which is understandable given it's being written that way in the OT)

At that point it becomes a moral issue rather than one of tradition.