I’ve written about appreciative thinking before, and why I think it’s a valuable way to live: “To learn appreciative thinking is to learn to appreciate, to learn to see the value of things. More or less the opposite of critical thinking.” In Seth Roberts’s post from which I excerpted, he underscores the effects of constant criticality:
Relentless negativity caused trouble for the graduate students because every plan of their own that they thought of, they placed too much emphasis on what was wrong with it. Trying to overcome the problems, their research became too big and complicated. For example, they ran control groups before obtaining the basic effect. They had been very poorly taught — by all those professors who taught critical thinking.
It’s in this vein that I’m sharing William Doino Jr.’s recent piece on Fr. Robert Barron and his “affirmative orthodoxy.” Pope Francis recently named Fr. Barron as auxiliary bishop to Los Angeles, but Barron’s approach to conveying Christian belief has been attracting lots of people to him for a long time.
An example of affirmative orthodoxy is the attempt to create a broader foundation for Christianity than simply a few of its most publicized moral dogmas: “What most people know of the Catholic Church are the moral positions, especially on sexual issues,” says Fr. Barron, “and the trouble with that is, it gives you an extremely narrow take on what it means to be a Catholic Christian.”
As Fr. Barron says in the clip above, Catholicism at its heart is a yes, not a no. If you hear Christians simply parroting the “no,” challenge them to go deeper. If you only understand Christianity as a “no,” challenger yourself to understand it more deeply.