We each and every one of us were born into a way a life. And people of faith for centuries have stumbled over the pressures to conform and the inspirations to break free. But in a day and age when so many competing ways of life try to woo us into a “a more excellent way”, what do we with the faith of our fathers?
Option 1: No Questions Asked. One response is to please the system in which we have been born. We adhere to the faith, which was given to us, and we never challenge its moorings. This is to be expected, since no matter how hard we try, humans will never shake off the impact of their traditions. Yet, there is good and bad in every tradition. And we take a great risk as humans when we leave massive blind spots unexplored.
Option 2: Abandon Ship. When we encounter the world and find out how small our way of life is in comparison to the millions of traditions out there, many think that they must leave their way behind. Folks encounter their traditional blind spots and discover sickness there. Flight is a natural response to threatening situations. Yet there is good in every tradition, and we must find a way to embrace that which we have been born into. Perhaps there is another way.
Option 3: Appreciative Transcendence. This is by far the most painful route. We come to embrace and appreciate what is good in our tradition and transform what is sick. This takes patience, reading, talking with strangers, and the willingness to be wrong. Yet, if we go no questions asked, we will inevitably end up transmitting the same old sicknesses to new generations. If we abandon ship, will also ultimately abandon ourselves and become a restless wanderer no matter how much we convince ourselves otherwise.
We do our spirits well if we learn to challenge our most confident worldviews without ever loosing confidence in the direction our tradition has guided us.