A response to my blog on Tuesday about orthodoxy (right thinking), and orthopraxy (right practice). The church needs more people like Andrew…
Posted by: Rev. Andrew Eagles – E-mail=[mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] Homepage= at February 15, 2005 22:53:31
Rhett, the distinction between orthodoxy and orthopraxy is fascinating. Might I try to push it even a bit further? Might it be less about “right thinking” or even “right acting” and more about right relationship? As far as orthodoxy goes, those in the universal Church hold many different orthodoxies and yet remain united under the saving actions and grace of Jesus Christ. I often like the Eastern Christian concept of theologuema (sp?) (those things that are not salvific are okay for us to hold different opinions about as we are in process / in the gray about) over the divisiveness of dogmatic orthodoxy. As to orthopraxy, it is a good concept to point out our constant failing to live what we believe, but isnât that the struggle of Romans 7? Isnât orthopraxy â in a holy sense – impossible? But the heart and graceful form of both of these concepts are melded in a concentration on right relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ. Here, âright thinkingâ is held in the midst of the personality of relationship. In relationship we can know instead of theorizing yet also hold mystery in the otherness of our relation â as well as respecting the mystery of our Christian brothers and sisters personal wrestling with God. Also, in this, âright actingâ is also balanced by a dependence upon the right and final actions of Jesus on our behalf and his invitation to follow him in grace and out of love. Also involved in this is a dependence upon the Spirit to empower and lead us in living The Way.
This train of thought is very untested so tell me what you think. I think I just have difficulty with the polarization that McLarenâs A Generous Orthodoxy seems to bring to things. But let me reserve the right to retract that statement when I reread that chapter. Nevertheless right relationship fits a postmodern mindset better than orthopraxy anyway and it also lends more credence to the heart of our faith than its religious tendencies.
Oh, and great links and discussion points on the other issues raised.