Emperors Demand Respect
Constantine got off to a pretty rocky start when he tried to check in to the reunion! He was deeply upset by his arrest and at being held against his will. Emperors are not used to that kind of treatment! We were all relieved to see that after some counseling and medication he was right back to his old self. He was eager to return to the reunion and the church fathers were looking forward to seeing him too. Rumor had it he was still miffed about all the indignities he suffered during his mental health hold so that was a bit of a worry. No one knew what to expect when he finally made an appearance… and what an appearance it was!
A Royal Robe and a Golden Throne
Constantine entered the reunion hall wearing a royal purple robe lavishly encrusted with jewels and gold. It looked just like the royal robe he wore at the first council of Nicea! (except that the gold and jewels were fake and the fabric was a close out from a local upholstery shop) In spite of that he looked truly regal! In their lifetimes the church fathers admired his style so much they adopted it for their own ecclesiastical garments. The casino also found a nice golden throne for the emperor to use and the church fathers thought this was another very nice touch. They liked having thrones in their churches too because it sent such a powerful message about their importance!
Constantine Controlled the Nicene Council
The All Stars Reunion featured a lot of important people and that created a big problem. When everyone is important it can be hard to tell who is really important! Constantine decided it was time to show who was in charge. That issue was never in doubt at the first Nicene Council. Not even a little bit! After all, Constantine had convened the council and the church fathers came at his invitation. He provided their transportation, security, lodging and then set a sumptuous table for them to enjoy. Best of all, it didn’t cost them a penny! The emperor also set the agenda and laid out the goals of the council. He was their host, moderator and the final judge of all their decisions! To seal the deal, Constantine even began paying the salaries of church officials which effectively made them his employees!
Pomp and Circumstance
Moderator: We are honored by the presence of our benefactor and the ruler of the Holy Roman Empire! May I present Constantine the Great! The sounds of a trumpet fanfare played impressively over the world class sound system and everyone immediately stood to their feet. When the emperor strode into the room in all his glorious apparel and sat down on his golden throne the audience burst into enthusiastic applause! Caesar’s Palace had even provided a troop of Roman soldiers holding spears with concealed microphones for the event. It was a thrilling display of pomp and circumstance!
The Emperor Remembers Nicea
Emperor Constantine the Great: Beloved subjects! It is so good to be here with my soldiers, my robe, my golden throne and all of you. I’m almost beginning to feel at home here in Sin City! When I heard the trumpets and saw all of you kneel before me it was such a relief! What a strange world the centuries have wrought! Who would have ever thought an emperor would get arrested and locked up just for acting like an emperor? Go figure!
I do regret missing the reunion sessions with Athanasius, Tertullian, and Origen, along with Eusebius and Arius. I heard that a very interesting character named Lewis Carroll showed up too. All the reports I’ve heard about the Reunion have been so complimentary! Let me first congratulate you for crafting the dogmas and creeds that shaped civilization and preserved my empire for so long. Your labors at the Great Council in Nicea will never be forgotten! Those who claim we ultimately did more harm than good are just jealous of our success.
The Theology All-Stars Reunion Was a Mystery to Him
No one has really explained to me how we got here since we have all been dead for so long! Sadly, the reunion committee tells me we are all headed back to our graves any day now. I hope we have the chance to play at least one more round of golf before then! I really enjoyed that crazy game. When I first got here to Las Vegas I confess to being a little concerned about the cost because my empire is bankrupt and doesn’t even exist anymore. Fortunately, the organizers told me lots of people leave this town deeply in debt so I guess we’ll have plenty of company! Luckily for us we’re all dead so when we do leave town we’re going where no one will ever find us!
What Was The Real Reason for the Nicene Council?
Some people think I convened the Council in Nicea to further the Kingdom of God. Others claim it was mostly to help preserve my empire. I guess that’s a question you’ll just have to answer for yourself! Some have even questioned the sincerity of my conversion to Christianity since I didn’t get baptized until I was on my deathbed. I confess that did give me more time to do what I wanted and then have it all forgiven right at the end! All in all it was a pretty clever move on my part if I do say so myself!
Without Warning the Emperor Began Fading Away!
With that, the lights began to dim and without warning and the emperor and all the church fathers began fading away! All their pomp and all their glory slowly evaporated into nothing! Soon there was nothing left but an empty room! Their authority, their powerful intellects and their influence had become little more than a memory. The curtain had finally dropped on the Theology All Stars Reunion! Its fine buffets and great speakers became a thing of the past. But it was a fine past indeed! We are glad it took place and we’re glad you came to read about it!
The Nicene Council Created a Religious Mess
Someone had to clean up after the reunion and that chore was left for the janitor Pragmatticus. (We’ll hear from him in a week or two.) After that we have something quite wonderful in store for you! We are planning a brand new companion site to the All Stars Reunion called wonderfultheology.com. You can reach it directly or by way of the link we’ve included right here on our homepage.
PS: Please be sure to come back for the final installment of the Allstars Reunion and take a look at our companion site too. You’ll be glad you did.
PPS: Before you leave today please invite someone else to read about the Reunion too. Thanks and God Bless.
Copyright 2021 by Bob Shutes
This was a most interesting discussion!
1. A good education into the basis for the theology which is the underpinning of so many Christian religious sects.
2. A fine discussion of “tradition”, and how it can and has influenced modern religious and social norms and beliefs.
3. A rightly clear demonstration of the teachings of Jesus Christ. The focus was of course his teaching and the issues of the “Holy Trinity”. His most important views on “… cast the first stone” and “… do unto others…” , and several others, are so much more important I our so fractured society now… but maybe that’s for a future discussion.
4. There are so many funny and pointed barbs… I thoroughly enjoyed your creativity!
5. The golf outing was hilarious… such fun !
6. I’ve still got more here to digest, but, Bob, let say Thank You… you made me think and reflect on these issues .