Generous Orthodoxy  

The word ortho-doxy (Greek for "right doctrine") has both positive and negative connotations. In a culture that prizes what is iconoclastic and transgressive, orthodoxy has come to sound constricted and unimaginative at best, oppressive and tyrannical at worst.

The position taken on this website is that we cannot do without orthodoxy, for everything else must be tested against it, but that orthodox (traditional, classical) Christian faith should by definition always be generous as our God is generous; lavish in his creation, binding himself in an unconditional covenant, revealing himself in the calling of a people, self-sacrificing in the death of his Son, prodigal in the gifts of the Spirit, justifying the ungodly and indeed, offending the "righteous" by the indiscriminate nature of his favor. True Christian orthodoxy therefore cannot be narrow, pinched, or defensive but always spacious, adventurous and unafraid.
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Latest News

Fleming's new book, Advent: the Once and Future Coming of Jesus Christ, has been a runaway best-seller

Posted: Tuesday, November 27, 2018

For a couple of weeks just before Advent there were no books to be had. Eerdmans rushed a second printing (or whatever they are calling it these days). The very best place to get Advent now is at https://www.heartsandmindsbooks.com/ where you will find a warm welcome, a good discount, and speedy shipping. Advent is upon us, and it is not a long season, so move fast on this if copies are needed. The book is already being read and taught in England and Canada as well as the United States.


Fleming is a regular now on the very popular “Crackers and Grape Juice” podcast. Look for “Fridays with Fleming”

Posted: Monday, March 13, 2017

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/crackers-and-grape-juice/id1100507919

 


A very knowledgeable recommendation of The Crucifixion, from London

Posted: Monday, February 20, 2017

"I'm Fleming Rutledge, and I approve this synopsis, from London, of my book The Crucifixion."
https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/book-review-the-crucifixion


Fleming's book The Crucifixion has been named the Book of the Year (2017) by Christianity Today

Posted: Friday, December 16, 2016

Here is a link to the webpage with the announcement. http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2017/january-february/christianity-todays-2017-book-of-year.html


The Crucifixion by Fleming Rutledge crosses the pond

Posted: Friday, May 27, 2016

The Church Times is a widely read publication of the Church of England. The May 27 issue contains a review of Fleming's book along with two others. Here is an excerpt from the review by Dr. Peter Forster, Bishop of Chester:

"The most substantial of these books is The Crucifixion, by the veteran US Episcopalian [sic] priest; Fleming Rutledge. A gifted preacher and spiritual writer, this is her theological magnum opus of 600 pages. Don’t let the length put you off: this is pure gold, reminiscent in style of Ken Leech at his best. The book is at once profound and preachable. A preacher will find material, and illustrations, for many sermons. Any Christian would find it uplifting, and academic theologians will see just how theology can best be put at the service of the wider Church. Her main dialogue partner is American Christianity, which evades the cross, as it comes packaged “as inspirational uplift — sunlit, backlit, or candlelit”. Not that the cross can ever be interpreted without reference to the resurrection, but this must be as a conjoined paradox rather than as a balance or neat sequence. If there is a central motif in this restless and multi-faceted book, it is that Jesus Christ represents, and enacts, God’s apocalyptic entry into creation in order to confront and destroy the powers and principalities of evil, supremely in the confrontation that the cross portrays. Hence the importance of its public dimension. The cross is not just an ugly death but a public ugly death."

 

 


The Crucifixion wins Best Reference Book award

Posted: Friday, May 13, 2016

Dick and Fleming Rutledge are shown with Professor Deborah Hunsinger and Professor George Hunsinger of Princeton Theological Seminary at the Episcopal Conference Center in Oviedo, Florida, where both women won Best Book awards from the Academy of Parish Clergy. Prof. Hunsinger's book, the Best Book of 2015, is Bearing the Unbearable, which puts trauma theory to work in the service of the gospel. Fleming Rutledge's book, The Crucifixion, won as Best Reference Book of 2015, so designated on account of its heft and comprehensiveness. George Hunsinger, who has won many awards himself, wrote an endorsement (aka "blurb") for Fleming's book. It was a wonderful reunion of colleagues.


The Episcopal New Yorker interviews Fleming Rutledge about The Crucifixion

Posted: Tuesday, May 10, 2016

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The Crucifixion was reviewed on the Reformed-ish blog by Derek Rishmawy, who calls it a “beautiful piece of theology”, ideal for pastor-theologians.

Posted: Monday, February 29, 2016

http://derekzrishmawy.com/2016/03/16/the-crucifixion-understanding-the-death-of-jesus-christ-by-fleming-rutledge/


Commonweal, the highly respected Roman Catholic magazine, has given Fleming's The Crucifixion a prominent, positive review:

Posted: Sunday, February 28, 2016

The reviewer, Rev. Robert P. Imbelli, associate professor of theology at Boston College, calls the book a "remarkable" and "monumental" work, and closes by echoing "the chant Augustine heard in the Garden: tolle, lege: take up and read! Rutledge’s volume wonderfully celebrates the triumph of redeeming grace: the crucified Messiah, Jesus who is 'the wisdom and power of God.'"

https://www.commonwealmagazine.org/crucifixion-0


The Christian Century featured a very positive review of The Crucifixion:

Posted: Saturday, February 27, 2016

http://www.christiancentury.org/reviews/2015-09/crux-matter

 


Fleming presents her new book at the Ecumenical Institute in Baltimore:

Posted: Tuesday, December 15, 2015

http://www.stmarys.edu/the-crucifixion-according-to-fleming-rutledge/

The photo shows Michael Gorman, of the EI, responding to her presentation. The copy is by David Neff, retired editor-in-chief of Christianity Today.


Fleming's new book is published and available

Posted: Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Crucifixion: Understanding the Death of Jesus Christ, is now officially in print. It can be ordered at a discount from Eerdmans directly, or from Amazon if you must. If you are a supporter of an independent bookstore, do ask them to order directly from Eerdmans. Eerdmans is superlative in speedy response and delivery, and they give substantial discounts to clergy.

This book about the cross of Christ is not like any other book presently on the market. It delves deeply into all the major images and motifs used in the Old and New Testaments to explain what is happening on the cross. That phrase, “what is happening,” is important. The crucifixion of Christ is not simply a spectacle to wonder at. God is doing something, something unique and cosmically effective, in historical time, at a specific geographical location intimately associated with his promises to the Jews. What is this thing that God is doing? This book attempts to answer that by reflecting in depth on what the Scriptures show us.

The book also attempts a close look at the problem of evil. There is no “answer” in this life to the problem of evil and suffering, but the suffering and excruciating public death of Jesus by torture is related to it in a way that is unique in religion and actually undercuts human religious ideas. The chapter called “The Descent into Hell” examines this matter in depth. Individual human frailty and sinfulness is addressed in the chapter called “The Substitution.” Social evil—war, violence, crime, oppression, racism, exploitation—is addressed particularly in “The Apocalyptic War: Christus Victor.” The entire volume is organized around the central proclamation of the gospel: the justification of the ungodly.

Several lay people have already testified that they are finding the book readable and engaging. To be sure, it is directed to pastors, preachers, and students, but it is also accessible to inquiring non-specialists. It can profitably be used by study groups, particularly by using the eight chapters in Part Two: The Biblical Motifs.


Recent Ruminations

A Hanukkah story for the goyim
Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Hanukkah just ended. I always enjoy seeing the menorahs in my neighbors' windows. Maybe it's just my imagination, but I don't think there were as many in the neighborhood this year.  I wondered if people were anxious about the rising anti-Semitism that we are seeing.

Anyway, I thought I'd post this excerpt from my book Advent. It's the ending of the sermon called "Waiting and Hastening" and it begins on page 75. It was preached at the parish of St. Michael and St. George in St. Louis, which explains the reference to Michael.

******************************************

...Here is one more story from the newspapers, an Advent story, a Hanukkah story, a little story about darkness and light. No Supreme Court decisions issued from it, no mighty movements came of it, no commemorative events have happened around it. Yet it, too, is a wondrous image of God’s coming Kingdom. Picture a tidy residential street in an American suburb, ending in a cul-de-sac, lined with ten or fifteen attractive houses. Most of them are Gentile homes, but one is Jewish. It is December and that house has a menorah in the window for the celebration of Hanukkah. One night, vandals smash the window, remove the menorah, throw it on the ground, and scribble a swastika on the side of the house. The next night—can you imagine it? the next night, every house on the street had a menorah burning in its window, lamps shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in the hearts of us all.

            Now that was all the information there was in the newspaper article about this event.[1]But we can read between the lines of that news story. Do you think each one of those non-Jewish families had a menorah sitting in their closet? Of course not. This could not have been an entirely spontaneous event. We may be certain that during the day following the anti-Semitic vandalism, there was one person who thought to himself or herself, “We need to do something.” Maybe that person talked to a neighbor. Maybe a couple or a family at breakfast dreamed up the idea of the menorahs in every window. Then what? Somebody had to call everyone else on the street and get them to agree, then someone had to find out where to get a whole bunch of menorahs, then somebody had to collect the money and maybe take off from work to go buy them and take them to every house. A lot of little actions, little decisions, little sacrifices, had to be made before all those menorahs went into those windows. Lots of different people had to make quick decisions to help or not to help. These kinds of things don’t just happen.

            Dear friends of St. Michael and St. George’s Parish, we all stand on the threshold of God’s Kingdom. We never know from moment to moment when an opportunity might be presented to us. The Church in its sinfulness has done so much damage over the years, so much harm to blacks, Jews, foreigners, unbelievers of all sorts and conditions, but it is not too late. The Lord is still out in front of us. His future still approaches, his future in which all will be made new. His promise is sure; he will come. We make ready for him, this Advent season and every season, by lighting whatever little lights the Lord has put in front of us, no light too small to be used by him, action in waiting, pointing ahead, looking to Christ and for Christ. Even our smallest lights will be signs in this world, lights to show the way, beachheads to hold against the Enemy until the Day when the great Conqueror lands with Michael the archangel at the head of His troops, the Day that shall dawn upon us from on high, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace (Luke 1:78-79).








[1] Later, I found a detailed story about the menorahs. http://www.nytimes.com/1996/12/13/us/menorahs-bloom-from-act-of-vandalism.html?mcubz=0  Later still, I discovered that there had been a similar action in Billings, Montana seven years before.



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Latest Tips From the Times

I am shifting to Twitter!
Monday, January 23, 2017

I have decided to stop writing for this "Tips from the Times" feature on my website. From now on, I will simply reTweet articles that I think are notable, trying to be selective and not send too many. I have really enjoyed doing Tips, and I think there are some good pieces in my Tips archives, but I am spending too much time on it and--as we all know by now--Twitter is easier and more efficient, if not exactly mind-stretching! I will be able to put more effort into Ruminations. Many thanks to all my readers.
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