Who needs church "traditions" and "cultures" that do not and or can not edify God?
Not that I am saying these things are sins. I am saying they are of NO value to God and so they are of NO value to His Church or His people.
The point here is NO VALUE TO GOD. NO value to the Church
Fruitlessness is wickedness.
WE are to be Orthdodox in our view point and thinking on all matters. Orthodoxy does not promote mindless, spiritless thinking and pursuits. Quite the opposite.
The orthodox mind is always at work. We do not take off for mindless spiritless halloween and the like.
Such activities may not be evil. But they lack of sprituality and thus can not bear fruit so they are to be dismissed, and discarded whole.
This view strikes me as a crypto-Manichaean view of things. Such a view makes more sense if we believe that the whole material creation is the work of a demented or evil demiurge.
Tertullian wanted to drive as sharp an opposition as possible between Christian and pagan: "Moreover, we must inquire likewise touching schoolmasters; nor only of them, but also all other professors of literature. Nay, on the contrary, we must not doubt that they are in affinity with manifold idolatry." But like nearly everyone else, he admitted that there was no getting around pagan classics in an education worthy of the title. St. Augustine, like St. Jerome, experienced serious concerns about the study of pagan literature, but in De Doctrina Christiana he managed to take St. Basil's position (http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/basil_litterature01.htm
), though probably without St. Basil's cheerfulness. I just don't see St. Augustine as cheerful. Yet go to the review at http://www.leaderu.com/ftissues/ft9202/reviews/wilken.html
, where we are told that "though the clergy did not approve of the spectacula or festivals such as the Lupercalia, they did not forbid the faithful from participating in them. 'These things,' wrote Augustine, 'are to be tolerated not loved.'" The relevance of this comment to Halloween is remarkable!
Down through the centuries there have always been voices pleading with the less pure to abandon unspiritual pursuits.
I now suspect that the whole problem is the identification of something called spirituality. In short, I think that spirituality is itself a kind of delusion. Either we keep the commandments or we don't. That's it! I don't mean to keep the commandments in a legalistic sense; I mean in a deep sense.
Fr. Schmemann said it best: "A kind person is kind because he accepts people as they are, covers them with kindness. Kindness is beautiful, the most beautiful thing on this earth. Virtuous people are activists, obsessed with the desire to impose their principles and goodness and easily condemning, destronging, hating. ... In this word there is a lot of virtue, and so little kindness."
How often does monastic literature peal forth condemnation of Christians in the world, who, it is said, can scarcely be saved . Is it because its authors are virtuous? Is it perhaps not an accident that such a central ideal as arete^ (excellence or virtue) has so little representation in the NT, but so much in the monastic literature?
Cum grano salis, DanM