Orthodoxy, Orthopaedics, Orthopraxis, Orthocardia

From my earliest days I was taught Bible stories. As I got older I learnt about Christian beliefs and  Christian faith. It was important to have ‘orthodox’ beliefs…

The Greek word ‘orthos’ means ‘right, true, straight’… the Greek word ‘orthodoxus’ means ‘having the right opinion’… Orthodox has come to mean ‘following or conforming to the traditional or generally accepted rules or beliefs of a religion…’

Throughout my life I’ve examined my faith in the light of traditional – orthodox – Christian faith…  

Being married to a nurse I’ve had to get used medical vocabulary. I hear about orthopaedic wards, orthopaedic surgery… I learnt that orthopaedics is about the ‘musculoskeletal system’ – bones, muscles, joints etc.

Orthos again – so ‘right, true, straight’… bodies?… it makes sense…

But ‘paedia’ is the rearing of children (the paediatric ward is the children’s ward!). Apparently the term ‘orthopaedics’ originated 300 years ago from sorting out deformities in children….

(Musing… an aside…  wondering if I could define my work as a school-teacher as ‘orthopaedics’ – seeking to help children to become right, true and straight…)

When I started to study theology 15 year ago I learnt the word ‘orthopraxis’. Whereas orthodoxy is about belief, orthopraxis is about ‘right, true, straight’ action. It’s about correct conduct, how we ‘do church’, what faith looks like in practice.

Orthodoxy accepts and believes the 10 commandments; orthopraxis carries them out, lives in the light of them… Throughout the history of the church there have been those who have said that right beliefs are the priority; others have emphasised right actions. The debate continues today…

Last week Michael Reeves in ‘Gospel People’ introduced me to ‘orthocardia’ – a ‘right, true, straight’ heart. He says: ‘There can be no true orthodoxy or orthopraxy without orthocardia… (we shouldn’t)… be content with bare doctrine or bare religious behaviour.’

Musing… what it is to… have an ‘upright heart’… ‘do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with my God’… be ‘right, true and straight’ in my beliefs, body, actions and heart.

8 thoughts on “Orthodoxy, Orthopaedics, Orthopraxis, Orthocardia

  1. Great logic, Malcolm! 😊
    “Musing… an aside… wondering if I could define my work as a school-teacher as ‘orthopaedics’ – seeking to help children to become right, true and straight…)”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reading all them words beginning with the letter ‘ O ‘ reminded me of the song, I think from Youth Praise, could have been the chorus also,
    Oh Oh Oh How good is the Lord, I never will forget what he has done for me.
    Perhaps a dated song, and showing my age, but words still relevant ?

    Liked by 1 person

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