Curious Orthodoxy hopes to create a culture of curiosity and a dialogue between Christians of all kinds. Much like the rest of our society, it’s easier and easier to remain in a bubble of people who think, look, and act like “us.”  This not only makes our lives less vibrant but misses the radical inclusion and neighbor-love of Jesus Christ.

This does not mean we anticipate creating a place where everyone agrees – in fact, we expect the opposite. We know we won’t all agree on the answers, but we hope we can all agree on the questions. To paraphrase the wisdom of the Dean of Princeton Theological Seminary James F. Kay, we may not agree on the outer boundaries of our Christian faith, but we can have the conversation as long as our center is Christ. That’s what we mean by “curious orthodoxy” – if we agree on this center, this “orthodoxy” then the rest (the boundaries) we can be curious about, sharpening one another in our conversations, engaging in the wisdom of the Body of Christ.

"As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another."
Proverbs 27:17

To that end, we have some simple rules we follow. First, we borrow from Krister Stendahl’s three rules of interfaith engagement (because, let’s be honest, you know your Baptist granny thinks your Catholic boyfriend has a different religion):

  1. When you are trying to understand another religion, you should ask the adherents of that religion and not its enemies.
  2. Don’t compare your best to their worst.
  3. Leave room for “holy envy.”  [Holy envy, best elaborated upon by Barbara Brown Taylor, means there might be parts of another faith tradition you find beautiful and wish existed in your own tradition.]


Origins of Curious Orthodoxy

In 2010, two young women started college and moved into their freshman dorm. Though they were quite different and disagreed – a lot – they both loved Jesus and each other and became lifelong friends. Five years later, Kate listened to a podcast then invited Britt for coffee, in honor of their beloved Super Study Starbucks Sundays from undergrad. Curious Orthodoxy took shape over caffeine and a concern that friendships like theirs, which made both women sharper and better, were increasingly missing from churches. And, if they existed, they weren’t celebrated, they were suspect.

What if we got over our dogmatics and our legalism and remembered that we loved a living God, and that the Word was made flesh dwelt among us, that it lives still with the Spirit? What if we remembered Christ was our orthodoxy and the rest – that was ours to explore and realize with the Triune God, the Bible, and our communities? What if we could just all be a little bit curious about what God was doing in the lives of other Christians as well as our own? What if?

As it turns out, both ladies went to seminary and felt even more strongly that we needed to explore a curious orthodoxy. If we couldn’t even love each other well, how were we supposed to love the whole world? So Curious Orthodoxy was born.

(What was that podcast? The concept of curious orthodoxy came about as a riff on “generous orthodoxy” from Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History podcast. We highly recommend a listen.)