Is It Possible for Christians to be Simultaneously Open-Minded and Committed to Tradition?

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Malcolm Gladwell’s new podcast, Revisionist History, offered a thought-provoking quandary in the episode titled, “Generous Orthodoxy.” It’s an interesting dichotomy many people in religious communities battle subconsciously, and some engage it consciously.

Do you know a person of faith who’s both committed to a certain tradition of beliefs and practices, yet is also open to change and willing to reconsider those beliefs and practices?

When you tell someone you’re, say, a devoted Christian yet you’re not so concerned about some beliefs that others consider central or “orthodox,” how do you explain your view? How do they respond?

Do you separate from others if they don’t hold the same central beliefs? Or do you find a way to stay open to the ideas and questions of others, admitting you may find a more compelling perspective of truth?

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Here’s an excerpt from the podcast, Revisionist History, that deserves consideration:

“Generous Orthodoxy” Is An Oxymoron?

“That phrase, ‘generous orthodoxy’ comes from a theologian named Hans Frei. It’s an oxymoron, of course. To be orthodox is to be committed to tradition. To be generous, as Frei defines it, is to be open to change.
But Frei thought the best way to live our lives was to find the middle ground.
Because orthodoxy without generosity leads to blindness.
And generosity without orthodoxy is shallow and empty.
One of the hardest things in the world is find that balance — not just for those pursuing a life of faith, but for anyone interested in making their world better.”

Malcolm Gladwell, on Revisionist History podcast episode, “Generous Orthodoxy

What supposed oxymorons have you seen lately?

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