The introduction's title helps introduce us to the deep thread that ties the book together:
Heretical Orthodoxy: From Right Belief to Believing in the Right Way
This book is written in two parts. Part One is a collection of theological and philosophical reflections, riddled with parables, stories, quotes from other authors, mystics, philosophers, theologians, and Rollins' himself. Similar in how Brian McLaren makes the point that theological and philosophical ideas can be perhaps more subversive in parables and stories in The Secret Message of Jesus, Rollins employs this tactic throughout Part One of the book. The parables don't stop there however. Part Two of the book is a collection of 10 services that Rollins' has participated in and probably helped create with his community called Ikon in Ireland, that bring out the themes, theologies, and philosophies in the first part of the book, while stirring up our imagination with more stories and parables to illuminate, however darkly, the ideas from the first section of the book.
Today, I'd like to just begin conversing about the introduction to Part One...perhaps this will help others like me, I feel like I need to keep the ideas and notions in manageable chunks, both to be able to have conversation about them, and also to digest the rich thought in the book. So I thought I'd throw out another quote, that sticks out to me from the introduction to Part One (in which Rollins' is setting up his aims for this section of the book):
"Here I picture the emerging community as a significant part of a wider religious movement which rejects both absolutism and relativism as idolatrous positions which hide their human origins in the modern myth of pure reason. Instead of following the Greek-influenced idea of orthodoxy as right belief, these chapters show that the emerging community is helping us to rediscover the more Hebraic and mystical notion of the orthodox Christian as the one who believes in the right way--that is, believing in a loving, sacrificial and Christlike manner. The reversal from 'right belief' to 'believing in the right way' is in no way a move to some binary opposite of the first (for the opposite of right belief is simply wrong belief); rather, it is a way transcending the binary altogether. Thus orthodoxy is no longer (mis) understood as the opposite of heresy but rather is understood as a term that signals a way of being in the world rather than a means of believing things about the world (Rollins, pgs. 2-3, italics and bold mine)."
I think that this notion of orthodoxy, as right way of living and believing hits at the heart of what I've thought for some time now. I have struggled a lot with Reformed theology and the whole predestination/free will thing for a long time, though it has become much easier in the last few years, largely because of this nagging suspicion that orthodoxy was never about having all the right beliefs lined up in a row to show God (or others). Rather, orthodoxy was the way in which we are called to live and love in the likeness of Christ. This helps to free us from the fear that if we don't believe all the right things, or are "led astray" on a certain doctrine, that we can find hope in that orthodoxy is rooted in the way we live and believe, rather than in what we believe, which bypasses the whole, "say the sinner's prayer" or before you can be saved you must believe 1, 2, and 3.
How does this sound to you? Orthodoxy as right living and believing rather than having a fixed or proper set of beliefs that are all "correct" (if we can even be perfect or correct in our doctrines about God)?