Customs and Traditions

by Alvera Mickelsen | July 23, 2008
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Almost everything we do is based on custom or tradition. The languages we speak, the food that we eat, the clothes we wear, even our religious beliefs. Learning another language is difficult; to eat food different from our usual fare is not easy. Most of us hold religious beliefs and attend a church similar to that of our parents.

As children mature, they often question the tradition of their parents in all these areas. And that is not bad. We are each responsible to God for what we do and think, but it is not easy to move away from our traditions, and most of us don’t want to hurt our loved ones in any way.

Jesus faced the same problem. At one point in his ministry, his mother and brothers came to “take him home” (Mark 3:20-35). And he had to say that doing “his Father’s will” was more important than they were! 

Jesus was also counter-cultural when it came to women.There were several times that he broke with the Jewish tradition that treated women as less important and trustworthy than men. Jesus treated and esteemed men and women alike.

Most of us rarely question our religious traditions. We have always had men as pastors and church leaders. We have been taught that husbands are “the head of the house.” And we have been taught that these traditions are based on the Bible—and no one wants to go contrary to the Bible! But as Christians we are “Christ followers.” That means we follow him even at the cost of our traditions. (Actually many of our religious traditions are based on history or interpretations of a few Bible verses that are open to question.)

It is easier to stay with our traditions. But that is not our calling. Our calling is to be followers of Christ.