wish I’d learned #5: engaging orthodoxy (a fridea)

This week, I’ve been writing about topics I wish I’d learned from college ministers while I was in school. Today, I’m not discarding my usual “Fridea,” but I will offer one connected to the theme…

This week’s Fridea? Teach your students about other forms of orthodoxy, including those meeting on your campus.

Earlier this week I noticed that North Park University was holding a speaker series with a fantastic title: “Engaging Orthodoxy.” Now, in the case of North Park, they’re actually engaging Orthodoxy, as in spending time learning about “the Orthodox Church” (as opposed to the Roman Catholic or Protestant branches of Christianity).

But thinking of the title more as an invitation to engage and explore “orthodoxy” (small O), I recalled just how beneficial this sort of exploration has been in my own life. I’m thankful that after college, I moved to a town with a heavy influence from different denominations: moderate Baptists, conservative Baptists, Church of Christ adherents, and United Methodists. Mixed in among the denominations were a healthy dose of Charismatics and Reformed-types, too.

It’s not that Texas A&M (my undergrad college) wasn’t as diverse theologically; it was likely moreso. But very little in my college ministry circles catalyzed my exploration of those “others.” In fact, it was far more likely for me/us to talk/think about other religions than other expressions of Christianity.

I was ultimately thankful that my post-college city prepared me well for my yearlong road trip – and its wide, wide exploration of orthodoxy – that I would undertake eventually.

So in the spirit of Frideas’ practical encouragements, here are a few ways you could indeed help your students engage (other) orthodoxy:

  • Teach about other denominations/branches from the stage (you’d be surprised how popular a topic like this can be)
  • Study them in small groups or “elective” environments
  • Point students to resources for self-study
  • Encourage students to visit other Christian groups on campus
  • Mix with other Christian groups on campus
  • Hold a panel discussion with other college ministers to talk openly about differences (and non-differences!)

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