Wednesday, September 21, 2005

a living tradition innovatively rooted

Two more values of the Open Door:
Innovation: We value creativity because we believe that God is creative and that being made in God's likeness means we are creative beings as well. We celebrate the goodness and beauty of God’s creation. We express imagination is expressed in a variety of forms that inspire and reflect the beauty of God.

Rootedness: We honor the historic Judeo-Christian Church, and have a desire to root our vision and beliefs in scripture and the creeds of the Church. We seek to cultivate a deep and intimate relationship with God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit in all we do.

To value innovation and rootedness may seem to some like a postmodern paradoxical contradiction but I think they are keys to the faithfulness of the church throughout time and in particular this post modern time. I read an article today about being a part of a Living Tradition I like that phrase and think it speaks of being part of innovatively rooted tradition. A community with a living tradition has as John Calvin says, “the constant endeavor, day and night, is not just to transmit the tradition faithfully, but also to put it in a form we think will prove best.” That is rooted inovation and a living tradition. Here are some selctions from the article entitled, What it means to Stand in a Livng Tadition by Douglas F. Ottati, from Jesus Christ and Christian Vision.

A living tradition is a primary source for a community’s distinctive identity. It is ‘the story’ of community transmitted for reappropriation in each generation by means of varied artifacts and activities. A living tradition shapes the present life by furnishing a common memory or heritage that, in turn yeilds a guiding orientation… The vitality of a community depends upon the continuing viability of its tradition [rootedness]. When the tradition ceases to be reappropriated and extended, the characteristric orientation of the community dies [innovation]… A living tradition enters into the constituion of meaningful life because by persistent questioning and interpretation, it continues to yeild an orientation that makes sense of the conuing expereinces of a society of persons… To stand in a living tradition, then, is to participate in a dynamic process of interpretation – one that moves between received heritage [rootedness] and the realities and chalenges of the present world in order to express a continuing and vital orientation or identity [innovation]… [We must] prize both the cloud of witnesses from other times and places available in books and libraries and close relationships within present Christian congregations for these provide critical avenues towards one’s own judgement about the distinctive past, the vital present, and the beckoning future of the Christian movement…

To stand in a living tradition is to participate in a community that is consciously informed by its common memory, actively engaged in the realities of the present, vitally concerned about its future direction and genuinely repsonsive to personally creative acts of appropriation… it is to recognize that the historical tradition although indespensible is not an exclusive source for a communitiy’s present identity. Vital contributions are made by other resources as well.

Thanks be to God for the Open Door missional community that is striving to“consciously be informed by its common memory, actively engaged in the realities of the present, vitally concerned about its future direction and genuinely repsonsive to personally creative acts of appropriation."


John said...

I love how you've combined these two core values! It's a difficult task bringing these two things together in practice, but it really is important.

bj woodworth said...

thanks. to add another value it was Spirit-led.

Bob Robinson said...

I'm excited about what you're doing there at the Open Door... if only I lived 2 hours to the East!

Ruef said...

What do we mean when we say 'Cloud of Witnesses' in the Reformed tradition?