23 December 2011
Quick Review: Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy, by Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick
From this perspective, the book proved to be very useful. What makes this book difficult to discuss -- although I'm not yet ready to go into a great deal of detail on the blog -- is that it proved to be the nudge I needed to push me off the cusp of just being interested to being seriously interested in Orthodox Christianity.
For a quick summary, I loved the straightforward approach that the author takes. There is no hint of self-righteousness; there is no sense of superiority. There is simply a straightforward presentation of information: this is what Orthodox Christians believe, and this is what others believe. Now I have to suspect that in some cases there is a measure of generalization. I was quite shocked to find some of the positions that the Reformed Church claims to hold, at least officially. (Many of these beliefs were nothing short of repellent to me, although that might be the result of the distance I've developed from Reformed beliefs over the last few years.) But I have to assume that there is a difference between these beliefs on paper and these beliefs as practiced by the individual. The author takes care to point this out as well; Christians "on the ground," so to speak, might have much more in common with one another than their official theological affiliations suggest.
Generalizations aside, there's a hefty amount of information in here, packed into a fairly short book. Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy is a great read, regardless of whether or not you are looking into the Orthodox Church all that seriously. You will probably find out things you didn't know about Orthodoxy (and, in my case, things that kept making me ask, "How did I not know all of this?"), and there's a good chance you'll also find out things about your own belief system -- whatever that may be -- that you didn't know. It's a quick, refreshing book that won't take up much time to complete, but, if you're anything like me, will leave you with a lot to think about for many weeks.
Year of publication: 2011
Number of pages: 214