Reflection of a hopeful romantic

 or·tho·dox (Pronunciation: \ˈr-thə-ˌdäks\)VATICAN POPE

  • 1 a : conforming to established doctrine especially in religion.

As someone who has earned several degrees of higher education in religion I can say that, in some theological and academic circles, labeling someone “orthodox” is a polite way of calling them childish, unenlightened, unable to think for themselves. Any theological or philosophical argument made by someone labeled “orthodox” does not need to be taken seriously for they are unable to think “outside of the box” like the true intellectuals of our time.

Outside of academia someone who is orthodox has, perhaps, a greater risk in the culture at large. We risk wearing the label “conservative.” This is just another way of discrediting the orthodox belief system as something old fashioned and behind-the-times.

As someone who, after much study, prayer, and reflection considers himself an orthodox Catholic the following words from G.K. Cheterton from his book aptly named Orthodoxy really strikes home: 

chesterton-orthodoxyThis is the thrilling romance of Orthodoxy. People have fallen into a foolish habit of speaking of orthodoxy as something heavy, humdrum, and safe. There never was anything so perilous or so exciting as orthodoxy. It was sanity: and to be sane is more dramatic than to be mad. It was the equilibrium of a man behind madly rushing horses, seeming to stoop this way and to sway that, yet in every attitude having the grace of statuary and the accuracy of arithmetic. The Church in its early days went fierce and fast with any warhorse; yet it is utterly unhistoric to say that she merely went mad along one idea, like a vulgar fanaticism. She swerved to left and right, so exactly as to avoid enormous obstacles. She left on one hand the huge bulk of Arianism, buttressed by all the worldly powers to make Christianity too worldly. The next instant she was swerving to avoid an orientalism, which would have made it too unworldly. The orthodox Church never took the tame course or accepted the conventions; the orthodox Church was never respectable. It would have been easier to have accepted the earthly power of the Arians. It would have been easy, in the Calvinistic seventeenth century, to fall into the bottomless pit of predestination. It is easy to be a madman: it is easy to be a heretic. It is always easy to let the age have its head; the difficult thing is to keep one’s own. It is always easy to be a modernist; as it is easy to be a snob. To have fallen into any of those open traps of error and exaggeration which fashion after fashion and sect after sect set along the historic path of Christendom–that would indeed have been simple. It is always simple to fall; there are an infinity of angles at which one falls, only one at which one stands. To have fallen into any one of the fads from Gnosticism to Christian Science would indeed have been obvious and tame. But to have avoided them all has been one whirling adventure; and in my vision the heavenly chariot flies thundering through the ages, the dull heresies sprawling and prostrate, the wild truth reeling but erect.

Reading this quote helps me wear my label proudly. I really am a hopeful romantic when it comes to my faith!

What about you? How would you describe your faith?