orthoparadoxology: that’s it! that’s the word I’ve been looking for!

Stumbled across a word that captures a lot of what I’ve been trying to say… and live — about the “dance,” the navigation of paradoxes which is Christianity and Life and Living.

Dwight Friesen introduces it and defines it in a collection of essays emanating from the Emergent Faith community (in a book entitled An Emergent Manifesto of Hope).  A few passages are worth introducing/highlighting here, now:

I declare that embracing the complexities of contradictions, antinomies, and paradoxes of the human life is walking in the way of Jesus. The more we lean into the tension between competing truths, the closer we are to the heart of God. Territorial battles around theology cannot be seen as Christian work. Christianity is not a divine call to root out difference, nor is it a religion with the purpose of resolving paradox in a “once and for all” manner; rather the call of Christ is to live as a bridge, a link, a reconciling agent, rightly holding paradox with humility, faith, and love. Christ is the bridge not only between death and life but between black and white, male and female, Jew and Gentile, Republican and Democrat, conservative and liberal, modern and postmodern, I and thou. Wherever there is an impassible divide, we find Christ bridging the chasm with arms wide open; in just that place are followers of Christ, with their arms wide open as well. (p. 203)

Orthoparadoxy is an effort to make God’s main thing the main thing for all the people of God: reconciliation. Not sameness or agreement but differentiated oneness–where the fullness of one can be in relationship with the fullness of another. Orthoparadox is right paradox–holding difference rightly. Orthoparadox seeks to hold difference, tensions, otherness, and paradoxes with grace, humility, respect, and curiosity, while simultaneously bringing the fullness of self to the “other” in conversation, not to convert or to convince but with the hope of mutual transformation through interpersonal relationship…  Orthoparadoxy is the Triune life of God: one God while simultaneously three differentiated social persons, moving together in a coeternal Divine Dance of service for the sake of the other. This Divine Dance is the hope of the kingdom of God, as reflected in Jesus’s prayer for us just before going to the cross, that we would be one as he and the Father are one (John 17:20-21). Genuine difference and genuine oneness, the life of God as the life of God’s creation: this is orthoparadoxy. (p. 205)

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