I believe it was Scott Hahn who described traditionalists as mad trads, rad trads, and glad trads. Sometimes I am a mad trad. Things do have a tendency to get under a person's skin after a while. But I find it hard to be mad very long. Some think of me as a rad trad -- radically traditional and hopelessly out of step with the times. I suppose that is how I appear and I do often speak of radical faithfulness but in the context of the faith, faithfulness is hardly radical. It ought to be the norm. I think overall I am a glad trad. I am glad of the legacy of the saints who went before. I am not envious of others, other times, or other places. I am glad to be where I am now. I am glad that we have such a rich and gracious God who daily and richly blesses me and all Christians with so much more than we deserve. I know I have my moments but they are the complaints of someone who cares about the Church and the faithful, who loves the Church and the faithful, and who believes that the only hope for the world is a faithful Church and faithful people living out their baptismal vocation.
Much of modern Christianity is remarkably shallow. It is like trying to swim in a few inches of water. There is not much room. It is hard to get going. The Word of the Lord is treated more as a reference point or meme than the Word in which the Spirit is at work accomplishing God's saving will. The Sacraments, if they are treated at all, are seen as sentimental and individual moments, more private than communal, and more about what you bring to the Table than what God gives you there. It is a bland Christianity that grows old fast and makes you wonder if there is anymore than this. It is a beige Christianity that has no color and no passion at all -- it is hard to dislike but it is hard to like as well.
Much of modern Christianity is as bland as the warehouse buildings they call churches. Sprayed black ceilings of industrial framing and HVAC equipment, windowless and defined by their screens, we sit on the same uphostered chairs lined up on plain concrete floors, it is thought to be chic but it is dull. In contrast, traditional churches with their stained glass, statuary, wood carving, and appointments provide an interesting canvas for the eye. Some people think it is busy but it offers all kinds of glimpses of the faith. Just like the fuller ceremonial of the Divine Service, it is not bland or dull but rich and deep. That is what we need. A deep faith, a deep Church, and a rich faith in a rich Church (no, I do not mean rich in money but rich in the things of God and in the joy that flows from His gifts). That is the glad trad way. I know I am not alone but it is a struggle sometimes in the face of those who think our only future is the beige way that blends in instead of standing out. So call me a trad. I don't care. But if you want to be accurate, at least call me a glad trad.