Confessions of a Heretic


I read and hear an awful lot these days about orthodoxy- be it of the Jewish, Christian, or secular/political stripe. Orthodoxy is loosely defined as ‘right doctrine’ or ‘correct thinking’. It is something that has evolved over time, and is tightly bound up with culture, and tradition. Depending on whether you happen to be an Orthodox Christian, Orthodox Jew, or Orthodox pastry chef- you will find your life ordered by a rule and prescribed way of interacting with things mortal and Divine. There is security in orthodoxy- a way of filtering the chaos of the ether, and bringing order and explanation to an unpredictable and often hostile universe. But I have yet to find an orthodoxy that will embrace all of the sons of Adam without prejudice. And I have come to the conclusion that I am, have always been, and will likely always be a heretic. Furthermore, I wonder at times if God is not one too. So many faith groups claim to be the only ones that correctly hear His voice. Throughout history, God has had His name invoked as the justifier and/or instigator of holy slaughter. We hurl sacred texts at our enemies (at best), and try to reassure ourselves that their downfall is God’s will. And yet if we would look a little more closely at those same scriptures, we would discover that they were aimed at the evil lurking within our own hearts. We obsess over ‘finding God’s will’, when He has made it as plain as the nose on our faces: DO justly (action), LOVE mercy (compassion), and WALK humbly before your Creator. I am so tired of religious boxes that open only to reveal dust and ashes. The living water that my soul craves does not come from the pages of a book- but from friendship, from the clasp of hands together, the wide all-embracing hospitality of Abraham the non-theologian. Abraham, the heretic of Ur. Something even more outrageous- I believe that God loves heretics. I even believe that God wills them to dwell alongside orthodox tents- to act as iron sharpening iron, and to be the passion contained by their secure structured doctrinal fences. Heretics come in different shapes and sizes, and are all too frequently recognized posthumously as saints and prophets. I am not as brave as many of them were- but I want to blaze with the same conviction, the same love for God and neighbour. My heart breaks to see so much violence and hatred spilling forth in the name of spiritual ‘one-up-manship’.

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