Monday, December 19, 2011


There is a way that appears to be right,
but in the end it leads to death. -Proverbs 14:12

I was reflecting on this proverb and noticing that the opposite is true as well, that is to say there is a way that appears to be death but in the end it leads to life. Take forgiveness for example; choosing to forgive someone rather than to seek revenge or simply harbor bitterness toward them can be a painful process that often feels like a death. Tim Keller points out that there is life (resurrection) on the other side of that kind of death versus simply a slow painful death we experience as bitterness eats away at us.

In his book Sacred Attunement: A Jewish Theology, Michael Fishbane writes:
One of the central functions of culture and tradition is to convey what works to future generations so that each life cycle may benefit from the tried and true of the past - and that's a good thing.
I suppose he's right about it being a good thing though I would want to add a "usually" to that last phrase. Think about the traditions and culture of your average college. There are some great traditions and good culture created at many schools, to be sure. But there are also be some very destructive traditions and culture created as well. These traditions or this culture appear to be a "right way" to live but in the end they lead to death. These traditions and cultures have been conveyed to future generations but they might not be conveying what "works".

If we expand the circle to include our work places, homes, churches, family...what are the traditions that we participate in that have been conveyed to us? What culture exists in these places? Are they culture and traditions that lead to life or to death?

As we are reminded of Jesus' breaking in to our world we are reminded that even the most crooked paths can be made straight and a whole new orientation of life that leads to life is possible for all. May you build culture and traditions that lead to life.


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