Orthopathy: It’s Not a Multifaith Weed Killer

Orthopathy: It’s Not a Multifaith Weed Killer August 21, 2020

Saint Francis of Assisi with Al-Kamil, 15th CenturyBenozzo Gozzoli  (1420–1497); Wikimedia {{PD-US-expired}}

You may be familiar with the subject matter of orthodoxy and orthopraxy. But what about orthopathy? No, it is not a weed killer, like “Ortho Weed B Gon”. Orthodoxy deals with right doctrine. Orthopraxy deals with right practice. Orthopathy deals with right passion. If we wish to take to heart the Scriptures’ emphasis on loving God with our whole heart and our diverse neighbors as ourselves, we must account for all three: orthodoxy, orthopraxy, and orthopathy. Today it is my privilege to introduce to you John Morehead and Phil Wyman who will dialogue with me on the important role orthopathy plays in Christian witness and neighborliness in our multifaith world. Orthopathy does not kill multifaith engagement but nourishes it in honor of Jesus and our neighbors of diverse faith traditions and perspectives. Check out the video at the close of this blog post for the full interview.

John W. Morehead (JWM) is the Director of the Evangelical Chapter of the Foundation for Religious Diplomacy, as well as Multifaith Matters. Multifaith Matters resulted from a Louisville grant initiative that John led. His latest book project explores the significance of emotions toward those in other religions—orthopathy. It is titled A Charitable Orthopathy: Christian Perspectives on Multifaith Engagement (Pickwick, 2020).

Phil Wyman (PW) is a pastor, musician, author (including Burning Religion), interactive social artist working in festival settings, and a traveler moving among the subcultures of our society. Phil thinks provocatively, exploring thought forms from the fringes of society. You can find out more about his work at the following: https://www.patreon.com/PhilWyman; https://www.youtube.com/c/pkwyman; and https://burningreligion.com/.

PLM: Mention was made above about the grant initiative with the Louisville Institute that you spearheaded, John. Phil and I were members of that team. In the grant, we aimed to help Evangelical Christians like ourselves become more adept at engaging constructively people from other faith traditions. Both John and Phil have engaged extensively people of other faith traditions, including Paganism. Please share a bit about your work, including in this sphere, Friends.

JWM/PW:

PLM: John and Phil, we determined that a missing key ingredient for multi-faith engagement is orthopathy. John, you recently published a book on that subject. Tell us more about what orthopathy is and why is it so important for multi-faith engagement. Share with us about the book, too.

JWM:

PLM: Phil, how does orthopathy come into play in your own ministry context in places like Salem, MA?

PW:

During the interview, which you can find below at the close of this post, John shared briefly about his journey from counter-cult apologetics to neighborliness and diplomacy. Phil also shared about his sojourn, the painful challenges he has faced in pursuit of missional faith, and the richness of what he has experienced in relationship with people of diverse faith perspectives. Our hope is that the Evangelical and Charismatic traditions that we represent adapt well to our increasingly multi-faith society. This will require becoming more attentive to a charitable form of orthopathy to complement our important emphases on orthodoxy and orthopraxy. At the close of the interview, Phil and I discussed our admiration for the Apostle Paul’s missional heartbeat, as illustrated in Acts 17 at Mars Hill and chapter 9 of his first epistle to the Corinthians. Paul modeled exceptionally well the integration of orthodoxy, orthopraxy, and orthopathy. May we all learn from his example and hang on his missional coattails.

About Paul Louis Metzger
Paul Louis Metzger, Ph.D., is Professor of Theology & Culture at Multnomah University & Seminary and Director of The Institute for Cultural Engagement: New Wine, New Wineskins. He is the author of numerous works, including Connecting Christ: How to Discuss Jesus in a World of Diverse Paths and Evangelical Zen: A Christian's Spiritual Travels with a Buddhist Friend. You can read more about the author here.

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