A Strange and Colorful Orthodoxy

7 May 2008

For if I think our world needs anything, it is a strange and colorful orthodoxy.

The above comes from one of Arturo Vasquez‘s recent posts.

I cannot count myself as one of Arturo’s faithful readers; he writes in a fairly long format, longer than I have time to read in front of a computer screen, and sometimes his topics (on Iamblichus and certain aesthetic and theological topics) leave me confused.

But I do always check Arturo’s ‘blog to see what he’s writing about, even if I don’t read it all. The post linked to above I found particularly interesting. His general point, as I see it, is that the strangeness of Catholicism (the myriad local saints and devotions, the variety amongst the unity of the Church) is part of its holiness and beauty.

I think this is quite true. While I am sure that Arturo and I are at difference theologically, I believe he is right in saying that certain pagan or paganistic strands in Christianity are not bad. While I’m not advocating wheeling an image of Zeus into your local church, I am interested in the complexity this presents. All this is further complicated because I am sure that Arturo might look at things I believe or advocate and regard them as decidedly heterodox.

(I find this interesting, too, because many nominally orthodox Roman Catholics exist who Arturo and other Roman Catholics would accept despite the fact that their lives and beliefs are not, in fact, orthodox or catholic. Ultimately, I feel that Catholic identity has more to do with variety and multiplicitous unity than orthodox unity, but that’s my own, probably heretical, and definitely uneducated experience.)

Ultimately, I think this is all made possible by the Incarnation. The participation and union on the divine with the human effected by the Incarnation makes a mess of things, but a beautiful one.

I post this because I will be preaching on Trinity Sunday, and Trinity Sunday is, inevitably, a point of tension. In a monotheistic faith, a belief that God is Three(-and-One) is puzzling. I think a foregrounding of the Trinity and the Incarnation are the very fuel for “a strange and colorful orthodoxy.” God keeps filling the cracks of reality in odd ways.

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