I live in an interesting place. I live and interact with people from two different states -- Indiana and Ohio. Ordinarily this would be no big deal, but something happened last weekend for the first time in over 30 years: Daylight Savings Time in Indiana. The Hoosier state is One of three ostates which had stubbornly refused to reset their clocks twice each year. This year the state legislature finally adopted the measure at the insistence of their governor. And speaking as someone on the Ohio side of the state line, I've heard a ton of whining and complaining about it from the rank and file Hoosier. I find that fascinating.
Most of us know the drill. Spring forward, fall back. One hour difference. The only thing noticeable the next morning is the amount of daylight present when the alarm goes off. Then for some odd reason on Sunday evening we wait until dark to realize that it's hour later than we thought. No big deal. We get through it. But the fine folks are just getting into the swing of it, and a few are having tantrums about it. The conversations go like this:
"I hate it."
"Really? Why do you hate it?"
"Because it's stupid."
"But why are you so upset about it? How are you being hurt by it?"
"We've gotten along without it for 30 years, why should we change now?"
"Maybe you'll like it..."
"NO! I HATE IT! It's just plain stupid..."
It's a short conversation. But it's amazing that these conversations took place BEFORE the first clock was set back. So it's no surprise that the conversations since the time change haven't changed. The people who hated it before they tried it still hate it. It's not a matter of wait and see. It's a matter of not considering anything that has been successfully avoided for the past 30 years.
Now I have no agenda in the whole Indiana Daylight Savings Time debate. I do think it's a little ridiculous to avoid DST when most of the rest of the country uses it, but beyond that I'm willing to let it go. But the whole attitude seems remarkably familiar to me. Maybe it's because I've been a part of or have heard the stories of too many churches who refuse to try anything that isn't the same as the practiced routine of the past three decades (or more).
There is a battle waged between being worldly and using some of the world's methods to the glory of God. While I understand the hesistancy in looking too much like the world, to ignore things like video or websites or music that doesn't come in a hymnal on the assertion that it's too much like the world seems foolish at best. Too easily we become attached to our traditions. The Pharisees had that problem too, and we remember what the Master had to say to them about it.
Traditions in and of themselves are not bad. Neither are drum kits in a church sanctuary. But the problem lies in the attitudes of our hearts. If we become convinced that God is only honored by singing hymns 112-388 in the red hymnal or that worship is only done while sitting in pews, we begin to confuse the role of tradition in our lives and in our Christian walk. Traditions can quickly become the modern equivalent of the Ashtoreth pole. Our adoration often becomes stronger for our man-made idols than for the Man-maker Himself. Yet some refuse to see a problem with this. After all, "God doesn't change so why should we?!"
Giving up a good ol' tradition is like getting some Hoosiers to move their clocks ahead an hour.
"Lord, please help me to see tradition simply as tradition. Give me the strength not to be bound by my past and other's past in my pure pursuit of you."