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OUTDOOR TRUTHS: Are You Building Your Life on Truth or Tradition?

By Gary Miller

In my area flea markets are more popular than the mall. On any given Saturday or Sunday cars and trucks will line the highways. They are full of people who are willing to walk down dimly lit paths where vendors sell everything from hamburgers to hardware. The prices at these places are always negotiable and tax is always included – or maybe even disregarded. These places have always given common folk opportunities to take what they have and sell it or trade it for something they want more. It’s as much a gathering place as anything.

When I was young, I had a friend who was a wholesale knife dealer. He would always let me know when he came through town so I could meet him and buy his knives. I usually came away with 10 or 15 that I could use for trade bait. In those early years I learned to trade the hard way; usually coming away with something worth less than I paid for it. Since those days I have bought many knives, guns, hardware, and hamburgers at my local flea market. I probably lost a lot of money but gained a lifetime of lessons and memories.

I recently took my son to a gun and knife show. This atmosphere was familiar to me but not to him. He had never been to a store where the price wasn’t really the price and where the guy selling something was just as interested in buying something. He had a good time. Days like these continue to remind me how important it is for me to pass down some traditions to my children even if those traditions will eventually be lost by a new generation. And some of them need to be. That’s the problem with most of us as we get older; we think tradition is always truth. In fact, sometimes we fight over traditions more than we do truth, especially in our churches. As a result we lose the next generation. Truth is never negotiable. It can stand alone or be housed in a church, castle or correctional institute. It is truth. Its author is God. It does not change. Tradition is negotiable. It is man-made. It can change. And if it hinders people from getting to the truth, it must change.

Are you building your life on truth or on tradition? Are your greatest convictions based on truth or tradition? The best way to answer these questions may not be to ask yourself but your children. They will either see a truth that is alive and good for all generations or one that has been replaced by the dead traditions of days past.

Gary Miller is author of three books that are compilations of the articles he has written for nearly 15 years. He also speaks at game dinners and men’s groups for churches and associations. He can be reached via e-mail at

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