Thursday, December 22, 2011

Orthodoxy and Orthopraxy

If you were to look at my Facebook profile I've taken Brian Mclaren's title from his book, 'A generous orthodoxy' as the definition of my 'religion'. You could argue that 'a generous orthodoxy' could be part of the definition of Orthopraxy. I've been pondering the two words quite a bit lately. If you want a really simplistic definition it would be something like this

  • Orthodoxy :: Correct beliefs
  • Orthopraxy:: Correct behaviors usually informed by beliefs or values.
I would say that for my teens all the way up to my thirties I had a greater emphasis on orthodoxy yet behaviors fell a long way short of my beliefs.

It wasn't until latter in life that I realized the gap between the both belief and practice; a great inconsistence in my life. 

There are a couple of issues which are of importance. How do you have correct beliefs orthodoxy? How is this monitored and mentored. In most Christian circles it comes for the pulpit down. Therefore much of it comes down to the minister/pastors interpretation of the bible and how they see it interacting how we live 2000 years later. The hermeneutic nightmare.

For me it's easier to just have a few absolutes. Say Jesus great commandments,  love God, and love your neighbors. Then trying to put them into practice: orthopraxy. 
The side issues in the Church, such as infant baptism, same sex marriage, women ministers, headship etc, etc. They are just distractions all trying to take me away from my absolutes, and often contradicting my absolutes. (Especially when it comes to equality.)

Unfortunately having this understanding between orthopraxy and orthodoxy doesn't make things easier. I still find it difficult to love God, love my neighbors. It would be simpler just to go to Church have all the answers; doctrine regurgitated from the minister/pastor. I find it  freeing with a few absolutes and trying to work your life out from there.  

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