Sunday, May 31, 2009

What is the Revolutionary Tradition?

Or perhaps the better question is why did I abandon the Calituckyohioan? 

The Calituckyohioan's time had passed. I have been thinking of changing it for a while. I came up with it when I had only been in Pasadena for a little while. I was in a new area and wanted to hold on to my Cincinnati identity while opening up to the possibilities that awaited me in California. 

When I moved back to Cincinnati I was still going through a time of transition, only in reverse. So, the name still made sense to me. 

I have now been settling back in to life in Cincinnati, and no longer really feel torn between two homes. 

Now, back to the initial question.  I have been keeping my eye out for a new name for a while. As I was reading more of Thomas Merton's New Seeds of Contemplation, I came across a chapter entitled Tradition & Revolution. 

He applies the terms broadly to the Church and specifically to the Roman Catholic Church. If the life of the Church is the Truth of God, breathed into it by the Holy Spirit, he says, then humans have a tendancy to turn away from this "living tradition." So, the revolution comes into play not against the living tradition, but against the human tradition (turning away from God).

And yet this tradition must always be a revolution because by its very nature it denies the values and standards to which human passion is so powerfully attached. To those who love money and pleasure and reputation and power this tradition says: "Be poor, go down into the far end of society, take the last place among men, live with those who are despised, love other men and serve them when they push you around, but pray for those that hurt you. Do not look for pleasure, but turn away from things that satisfy your senses and your mind and look for God in hunger and thirst and darkness, through deserts of the spirit in which it seems to be madness to travel. Take upon yourself the burden of Christ's Cross, that is, Christ's humility and poverty and obedience and renunciation, and you will find peace for your souls.

Merton is not the only person to have impressed this upon me. In fact anyone who has issued calls to true discipleship are doing the same thing. For me, this includes a wide range of pastors, theologians and personal friends.  In fact, Greg Boyd's latest book, The Myth of the Christian Religion, is an excellent example of this. It is my understanding that the original title of that book was to be Revolting Beauty. This makes sense to me because it issues the same calls to the Kingdom that Merton does. In Boyd's case he walks through a variety of topics and shows how the world works, and how God's Kingdom is something much different.  Another great example is The Upside Down Kingdom by Donald Kraybill.

There is not a single section of the above exhortation which I find to be easy. But that doesn't excuse me from pursuing them. That quote is not an all encompassing challenge, but does a lot to point in the right direction.  So, this blog will now move into a new chapter of my life. The chapter of pursuing the Revolutionary Tradition- pursuing the reign of God and his kingdom.

In light of the quote now found in this blog's header, one could say that where worldly revolutions are physically violent, a this revoltion is spiritually violent. It is violent by way of the cross however, and can only result in the gift of true life, in, through and from Christ. 

Moving forward, it is my hope that this blog would be a place where I can work out how that revolution is going in my life, and offer up the fruits of my own study and experiences to anyone who might find life in them.