The final section of this project will be a compilation of the previous study into a presentation suitable for the seminary classroom. It is intended that this material will become part of a course in worship and the arts. This material will relate specifically to the historical use of symbol in the Orthodox Church and potential applications for today’s evangelical church leaders.
Through the process of this work, there has been fairly close consultation with a number of people. This contact has been for the purpose of evaluation of both the content and the possibilities of presentation in a classroom context. The individuals consulted are listed in the bibliography of this paper. Their input is reflected often in the project, however, in light of the informal nature of many of the discussions, much of their input has settled to the subconscious level and is not referenced. It would be ideal to have students evaluate this material after this course was actually taught, but this will not happen during the time allotted for the project.
In the Orthodox Church, tradition is highly valued as the work of God over long periods of time to guide and direct the church. In this sense, tradition is the continuity of the experience of the community and the leading of the Holy Spirit in that continuity. Ouspensky suggests that: “Tradition is the power of the historical community to understand and know the truth. It is the work of the Holy Spirit in time.”1 In Orthodox tradition, this experience is intrinsically woven with the content of the Scriptures and the painting or writing of icons. This sense of community is profoundly different from western individualism. In the west, Tradition used to mean a rich heritage of community practice. Now, however, it often means simply an old way of doing things. In fact, our understanding of the idea of tradition has lost much of its identity. “Tradition is one of those terms which, through being too rich in meanings, runs the risk of finally having none.”2