Marrying Orthodoxy to Orthopraxis
“There’s a movement in the church to marry action and contemplation, to connect orthodoxy and orthopraxis. We’re not throwing out the things we believe, but we’re also focusing on practices that work out those beliefs. In the past few decades Christianity has primarily been about what we believe. But in Jesus we see an invitation to join our actions with a movement rather than ideas and doctrine. I’m hopeful because people have grown tired of a Christianity that can say what it believes on paper but doesn’t have anything to show with our lives.”
Adapted from Shane Claiborne, When Action Meets Contemplation, disc 1 (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2010), MP3 download.
From Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation, July 2, 2017
Orthopraxis or practicing our faith is different from orthodoxy, an adherence to a certain belief. It is a paradox. We need both. We need to frame and reframe what we believe, but if we do not put that belief into practice we are like a “noisy gong”. I am one of those that Shane Claiborne talks about who has lots of tee shirts about social justice issues but until I write letters or make phone calls or visit prisons or those who are sick or in trouble, I am not putting that belief into practice. I have learned this most readily from the younger people in my family and in my life.
The women in my family marched the women’s march the day after the inauguration. We were talking with our feet. We were inspired to do more by the crowds and speakers there. That day has become like an icon for me about reaching out from under my comfortable tee shirt and visiting and making calls and protecting those in need. I know in my heart that this is the way the Spirit works. We are called to study about God and the Spirit, but we are also called to find the God within ourselves that will lead us to looking for the God in others. I share with spiritual friends that when I am attempting to find God in others, God is most apparent in those in need. God most readily shines in those who are sick or dying or seeking recovery, or at our food pantry or at our dinners for homeless veterans. They teach me the most about orthodoxy, about God.