Friday, January 13, 2012

The feast of Hilary (and a few other thoughts)

Today is the feast day of Hilary of Poitiers (300-368), a bishop in that time of foment and conflict and the emergence of orthodoxy (though that took another 200 years or more to fully solidify). Hilary was known as "the hammer of the Arians" for his confronting the followers of Bishop Arias of Alexandria (250-336) who saw in the Trinity a hierarchy of divine persons. Hilary was of the camp that saw co-equals in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

It is, of course, a good deal more complicated than this. It helps to know something of Greek philosophy to get all this. It also helps to understand politics. The 4th century was a brutal age, and the players fought hard and took no prisoners. The 4th century makes our presidential primary season look rather tame. And all of this could have come out differently, and we should be reminded that the strands of thought in the Church were many from the very beginning.

Christianity has always been diverse despite the efforts of some to claim that their understanding is the only path. As my seminary history professor Rebecca Lyman reminded me this morning, "history is a crooked tale."

Oh, and one more thing: Today is the 11th anniversary of my ordination to the God's Holy priesthood. The path these 11 years has been rich, enlightening, full of wonder and grace, but not always easy. I've gone places I never imagined I would go, and done things I never thought I could do. The path is crooked at times, and doubtless will always be so.  Thank you for your prayers, support, friendship and good wishes.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Well, I'll try again! HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! Thank you for making that choice. mcl