Flexibility and Fighting Through the Flatland Fog

Learning How to Roll With the Punches

Are you open to change? People who make a difference can be stretched, pulled, pushed, and often changed. You heard it from me: traditionalism is an old dragon, bad about squeezing the very life out of its victims.

Flexibility
(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

So never stop fighting it. Watch out for those age-old ruts!

Let’s be careful to identify the right opponent. It isn’t tradition per se; it’s traditionalism. I’m not trying to be petty, only accurate. The right kind of traditions gives us deep roots—a solid network of reliable truth in a day when everything seems up for grabs.

Among such traditions are those strong statements and principles that tie us to the mast of truth when storms of uncertainty create frightening waves of change driven by winds of doubt.

For example:

  • Believing in the authority of Holy Scripture
  • Knowing and loving God
  • Bowing to the lordship of Jesus Christ
  • Committing ourselves to others
  • Filling the role of a servant-hearted leader
  • Becoming a person of genuine encouragement

Such traditions (there are others, of course) are valuable absolutes that keep us from feeling awash in a world of relativism and a culture shot through with uncertainty.

However, a great deal of difference exists between tradition and traditionalism.

Tradition Vs. Traditionalism

By traditionalism, I have in mind mainly an attitude that resists change, adaptation, or alteration.

  • It is blindly and forcefully holding fast to a custom or behavior.
  • It is being suspicious of the new, the up-to-date, the different.
  • It is finding one’s security, even identity, in the familiar and therefore opposing whatever threatens that.
  • It is substituting a legalistic system for the freedom and freshness of the Spirit—being more concerned about keeping rigid, human-made rules than being flexible, open to creativity and innovation.

By now, you’ve guessed where I stand. Clearly, my position is on the side of openness, allowing room for the untried, the unpredictable, the unexpected—all the while holding fast to the truth.

Believe me; there are plenty of people around who feel it is their calling to tell others what to do and what to say. They are self-appointed wing-clippers who frown on new ways and put down high flight. They work hard to squeeze you into their mold.

Whoever decides to soar must first fight through the flatland fog that hangs heavy over the swamp of sameness.

What do you think? What helps you steer clear of traditionalism? You can tell me by clicking here.

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Shannon Dyess

    Chuck,
    Thank you for posting these helpful blogs. I look forward to them each week. I appreciate your thoughtfulness, preparation, and investment in the lives of us who benefit from these.