I share Rohr's cautious cynicism. Human nature is painfully predictable, and dualistic thinking seems stamped into our fundamental patterns of thought and behavior. Probably some kind of evolved survival instinct: we have to see the world in good and evil, black and white, correct and incorrect, Next Generation and Original Star Trek...
"We end in creating and even reveling in those splits as our very identities." I'm totally convicted. Once, I was "the other," now I'm "the other other." And the self-differentiation continues, ego-driven to be sure. But there are other motivators too: among them, passionate desire to experience and stand for something better. Maybe even something so trite as wanting to make the world a better place?
One of the things that attracted me to Emerging Christianity in the first place was its idealism: a sustained attempt by a whole host of Christians to avoid the liberal/conservative continuum altogether.
It's a nice ideal, and I think it's still worth the effort for the right personalities, but I'm afraid the religious environment we inhabit - at least in the West - leaves little room to function pragmatically without making some stances on particular issues. I believe some positions are worth taking. And once one makes those stances, there's little question about where one is positioned on the spectrum - like it or not.
Can we move beyond the dualism? A lot of people make a lot of money off it...
Next, Fr. Rohr writes:
We have talked a lot about orthopraxy vs. orthodoxy in Emerging circles, and it's an important counterbalance. That counterbalance has been attacked relentlessly for being an overcompensation, to the detriment of orthodox belief.
Some criticism I have heard even articulates this: "Orthopraxy is easy, you just get to be nice! Orthodoxy means giving up your own reason and sensibilities."
Really? Orthopraxy - "right living" - is EASY?! Please, show me someone... um. Jesus?
I agree, despite my loose theological allegiances, that intellectual and spiritual humility are important. I agree that I am NOT smarter than 6,000 years of scribes, prophets, mystics, priests, clerics and scholars. I agree there is so much more I don't know than what I know, and that ratio will never change (or it will continue to shrink my end of the ratio). I agree that there is truth I cannot grasp...
But orthopraxy without orthodoxy makes the world a better place.
Orthodoxy without orthopraxy just makes you a prick.
Props to Rohr, though I'm sure he'd disown this post...