All religions struggle with finding a balance between core values and acceptable traditions. As you travel around the world, you will see how all religions are entrenched in traditions. Whether it is a Christian church, a mosque, a synagogue, a Buddhist or Hindu temple the challenge is the same. Some traditions are good, but many traditions are not, and the original principle upon which the tradition began has been lost in a foggy maze of ritual.
Like Tevye, in Fiddler on the Roof, his answer to why was, “Here in Anatevka we have traditions for everything... how to eat, how to sleep, even, how to wear clothes. For instance, we always keep our heads covered and always wear a little prayer shawl... This shows our constant devotion to God. You may ask, how did this tradition start? I'll tell you - I don't know. But it's a tradition...” When you travel to Europe, the Holy Lands of the Mideast, or to Egypt and visit the many Christian churches which are centuries old, think of the difficulty of establishing a new religion among the entrenched religions of the time of Jesus and the early apostles.
The early Christian churches were a challenging mix of Jewish and Gentile converts. Each group brought with them the traditions of their fathers. In the New Testament letters the apostles would salute the Jews and the Gentiles with a separate greeting. Peace (Shalom) was, and still is, the salutation of the Hebrews, while “grace” was the appropriate greeting among the Greeks.
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