The bishop is severely ravaging and persecuting us and moving against us with every evil. Thus he drives us out of every city like godless men, since we will not agree with his public statements...
Since E. and T... and all those in the East say [this], they have been condemned, except for P. and H. and M., unlearned heretics.... We are not able to listen to these kinds of impieties, even if the heretics threaten us with ten thousand deaths. But what do we say and think and what have we previously taught and do we presently teach?
This is a very familiar sounding rant for anyone who reads blogs too much, which is why it made me laugh.
The author of this letter is Arius, writing to Eusebius of Nicomodia in the year 318. (You can read the whole thing here, if you're a church history geek like me.) Arius is the central figure in the heresy known as Arianism, a belief that says that Jesus is not co-eternal with the father, "But we are persecuted because we have said the Son has a beginning but God has no beginning. We are persecuted because of that and for saying he came from non-being. But we said this since he is not a portion of God nor of anything in existence. That is why we are persecuted; you know the rest."
These horrible heretics of whom Arius writes are the party we have long considered "orthodox," the ones who made sure the Nicene creed stated that Jesus was "of one being with the father."
God from God, light from light, true God from true God, begotten, not made.
A position I happen to hold. In some ways I find it very comforting to know that this belief, too, was once and by some considered heretical. In other ways, I find it disturbing to be accused, even at this great distance of time and space, of persecution.
You know I love this stuff, too. The truth is, most of us are heretics whether we realize it or not... There is always someone or some group more orthodox than thou...
I take orthodoxy to be somewhat cancerous, as its purpose of outward purity can only promote division and exclusion. Orthodoxy, of all kinds, has sealed the fate of innocents and saints in death.
Orthodoxy cannot reveal what the individual heart contains. Only God can know what resides in the heart; God is the only judge.
My vital question: what would it take seal the fate of innocents, saints, and even sinners, in life? And would require a new happening, a new institution or a new sacrament? If not a second coming, then what?
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