Generous Orthodoxy

Our community group this year is going to listen to various podcasts and focus on the meditation and reflection sparked by those podcasts.  If you’d like to follow along with us, you can check out my notes here on the blog each week.

October 18th

Not sure why you can’t see the “play” button but it still works.  Hover over the black space on the left and click.


For discussion…

As described by Malcolm Gladwell

Orthodoxy = committed to tradition
Generous = open to change

The best way to live our lives is to find the middle ground between these two things.  Orthodoxy without generosity is blindness.  Generosity without orthodoxy is shallow and empty.

The Mennonite embodiment of the sentiment that “we’re all in this together.”

Chester Wenger, ordained minister in the Mennonite Church, performing the wedding ceremony for his gay son, losing his credentials with the Lancaster Mennonite conference, and his subsequent letter to “his beloved church.”


The story of Wilglory Tanjong and the Black Justice League at Princeton University protesting the school’s deep adulation for U.S. President and former president of Princeton, Thomas Woodrow Wilson, and its blind veneration to this deeply racist demigod.


Gladwell believes that in order to bring lasting and meaningful change, one must be willing to personally sacrifice if one wants to make things better.  We must respect and love the body that we are trying to heal and in caring so deeply, we are willing to sacrifice and do hard things in order that it might be made more whole.

Should the manifestations of this belief look the same for various people groups?   How might “generous orthodoxy” look for a person of color?  How about for a White person?   How does our perception of “generous orthodoxy” change when viewed through lenses other than our own? 

For Meditation & Reflection…

For I am not ashamed of the gospel;
it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith,
to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

Romans 1:16 – NRSV

“Notice how broad that is?”  -Chester Wenger

For Further Contemplation & Exploration

  • Wilglory Tanjong’s response to the Revisionist History podcast.  Definitely worth reading the full piece.  “Gladwell’s argument reveals a much larger issue with the perception of black commitment.  Black people are constantly expected to sacrifice twice as much as a white person for access to the same rights and norms.  As black people, the sacrifices we make are often ignored and dismissed.  To say that sitting in the President’s office was simply a ‘sleepover’ completely dismisses the importance sit-ins have had not only on college campuses, but also the wider civil rights movements.”
  • The letter written by Chester Wenger.
  • The book by the same name by Brian McLaren, which explores these concepts in more depth.

Last week’s notes and podcast can be found here.