Constantine’s Last Words

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 lots 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

 

Caesar’s New Palace

Caesar’s New Palace

Where Could Theologians Meet?

Finding a nice location for the All Stars Reunion was a real challenge! Some of the organizers pressed for a low cost option like a Holiday Inn near Milwaukee. Sadly, and to the great disappointment of those theologians who enjoyed a few beers now and then, they just couldn’t generate much enthusiasm for the idea. Others thought that Constantine’s old palace would be a great choice but it was in ruins and underwater and try as they might no one could think of a good way around that!

Constantine Has a New Palace in Las Vegas!

Finally, after weeks of looking, one of the search committee members shouted, “Eureka! I’ve found it! Caesar has built a new palace in a place called Las Vegas and it looks perfect! Lots of rooms, food like I’ve never seen before, drinks, fountains, statues everywhere and pretty girls to wait on us! It has a nice big hall where we can meet and something they call a sound system so we don’t even have to shout to be heard!”

Famous Magicians, Illusionists and Theologians!

Needless to say the excitement was off the charts! No one paid any attention at all to the simpletons who claimed the place didn’t really belong to Caesar. We knew better! Besides, it was available and we could book it directly through Caesar’s own servants. When we let them know that we were close associates of the Emperor himself things started moving right along! They even told us we were going to have our names up in lights along with a whole slew of famous magicians, illusionists and entertainers! What could be better than that? We knew we were going to feel right at home in Las Vegas. Sometimes it’s just wonderful the way things work out when you are right smack dab in the middle of God’s will!

If you think for a minute that we intend to have some irreverent fun at the expense of the Church Fathers who have shaped the history of the Church… you are absolutely right. We’re just getting started so please come back and visit again. We’ll never ask you for money but we aren’t embarrassed at all to ask you for help. One way you could help is by sharing a link to our website with anyone you think might be interested.    www.theologyallstars.com    Thanks and Blessings.

Copyright 2021 by Bob Shutes

Emperor Constantine Arrived

Things Got Exciting at Caesar’s New Palace!

There was a lot of excitement at the front desk when the Emperor checked in. It all started when the desk clerk asked him how he wanted to pay for his room and then asked for a major credit card. Constantine was mightily offended that anyone would ask him to pay for lodging in his own palace and things went downhill in a hurry!

Constantine Was Weary From His Travels

Desk Clerk:  Good afternoon Mr. Constantine! I see the Imperial Suite is reserved for you for all week. You just need to sign this form and provide your credit card in case there are any incidental charges. By the way, that’s a terrific costume you’re wearing! You look like a real Roman Caesar!

The Emperor: Have your servants escort me to my quarters immediately and whatever else you have said is of no importance. Make haste for I am weary from my travels and will have no more patience with your impertinence!

Desk Clerk:  I’m sorry Mr. Constantine but this is hotel policy and there are no exceptions. It only takes a minute and then we’ll be happy to take you to your suite.

Constantine Threatens the Desk Clerk!

The Emperor:  One more word young fool and I will have your head! I command you to kneel at your Emperor’s feet and your life will be spared.

Desk Clerk: Oh my goodness Mr. Constantine! Are you really threatening to kill me? That would be a real mistake even if you are just joking.

The Emperor: Enough! Emperors do not make mistakes! Guards! Slay this impudent wretch before my eyes. Do not let another breath or another word pass her lips!

Desk Clerk: (Over the hotel PA system) All Hotel Security report to the front desk immediately! Code Crazy in progress! Repeat… Code Crazy in progress. Do not delay! Suspect is deranged and threatening violence!

WARNING: The following events were captured on video tape and may be disturbing to some viewers. (Copies of the DVD are currently sold out but will be available soon.)

There were costumed casino employees on the scene looking just like Roman soldiers with fake spears and swords. When Constantine ordered them to kill the desk clerk they laughed and said, “Sure thing Connie! We’ll get right on that as soon as we finish our coffee break!” That made the Emperor so mad he commanded everyone in the room who was loyal to Rome to kill everyone who wasn’t!

Emperor Constantine Was Foaming at the Mouth!

Hotel guests couldn’t tell whether the scene was real or staged for their entertainment. The “Imperial Guards” were laughing their silly butts off. Constantine started foaming at the mouth when hotel security guards (the real ones) handcuffed him and told him to be quiet. When the Emperor commanded everyone to kneel again the lobby erupted with laughter and applause. The timing seemed perfect when the Reunion organizers and casino owners showed up and whisked everyone away to the absolute delight of the onlookers.

The Casino Wanted to Hire a  Roman Caesar!

We can only imagine the conversations that took place behind closed doors but the desk clerk seemed relieved, the “Imperial Guards” finished their coffee break and the hotel guests who witnessed it all went home with a great story to tell their friends.

Reliable sources later reported that Casino management was so impressed with Constantine’s performance that he was offered his own show at a very handsome rate. Unfortunately, for us it never happened and we must be content with these fond memories and thoughts of what might have been.

Well, that’s a true and accurate account of what happened at the Theology All-Stars Reunion when Emperor Constantine arrived. It still makes us smile just to think of it. You can share a smile with someone today by sending them a link to theologyallstars.com. Thanks and God Bless.

Copyright 2021 by Bob Shutes

Background

It Was Time For a Theologians Reunion!

It was very late in the day (but before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ) when it suddenly dawned on us that the time had finally come for a reunion! We hoped the great theologians of the church might all get together in one place and explain things to the rest of us in ways normal human beings could understand.  Theologians just love to explain themselves so we had no trouble at all getting them to show up for our grand event. God even gave all of them permission to attend! Our hearts were filled with anticipation and excitement because we knew that at long last all the confusion about eternal truths would finally be laid to rest. What follows is the unabridged and unbiased account of pretty much everything that went on from beginning to end.

The “Church Fathers” Wanted Us Think Right

The ancient philosopher theologians we call “The Church Fathers” were a brilliant bunch! In their wisdom, they tried to lead us down a path of right thinking. But… is it possible that instead they ended up unleashing violence and hatred between brethren on a scale never before seen?  Our fond hope is that this reunion transcript will help us see things more clearly. Someday when Jesus returns He will reveal what He thinks about our religious traditions. In the meantime we’ll just have to do our best to figure it out all by ourselves.

Romans Thought Christians Were Enemies of the State

The early disciples of Jesus traveled all over the place establishing small pockets of believers around the Mediterranean and Europe. Eventually there were enough Christians to seriously annoy the Romans for lots of reasons that seemed pretty important at the time. They were known as enemies of the state who ought to be killed or at least tortured until they came to their senses. Persecution didn’t work very well though and Christianity flourished in spite of it.

If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em!

Early in the fourth century a pagan emperor named Constantine ruled that Christians weren’t so bad after all and that it wasn’t necessary to kill them anymore!  It was a classic “if you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em!” strategy. Until then Christianity had flowered secretly into a host of different varieties that co-existed in relative peace.  As soon as churches were free to worship openly trouble started. Who believed the right way and who was wrong? Who was a true Christian and who was not? Disputes between Christians became so intense that Constantine saw these religious divisions as a threat to the Roman Empire. The emperor just wanted an end to all the fighting.

Constantine Held a Church Council in Nicea

In 325 AD Emperor Constantine invited 3000 church officials  to a council at his summer palace in Nicea. (about 300 actually showed up) The idea was that they would talk things over and iron out their differences.  Then they would vote on a short statement of faith (a creed) that would become binding on all believers. Surely this would end all the conflict! What could be easier and more sensible than that? What could possibly go wrong? It turned out that a lot went wrong in a hurry!

The Nicene Creed Caused a Lot of Violence

The Nicene Creed they voted on enshrined Trinitarian dogma as the official dogma of Christianity. It also unleashed so much violence between believers that even pagans were scandalized by how much the Christians hated each other. To this day most Christians still solemnly recite the Nicene Creed every Sunday…. even if no one really understands exactly what it means. With these things in mind we could see that the only way out of this mess was to host the Theology All Stars Reunion! So that is what we have done.

Anyone Who Disagrees With Us Must be a Heretic

Heartfelt apologies are hereby offered to the disciples of any particular philosopher or theologian who may be offended by our humble reporting. Nevertheless we must press on and share this honest and accurate account of their lofty words and heroic deeds with you. Be assured there is no fake news here at all. No indeed! This officially authorized transcript is guaranteed, certified and warranted to be absolutely 100% accurate and unbiased. For this reason anyone who disputes this account is hereby declared a heretic, expelled from fellowship with those of us who have the right opinions, and banned from doing anything we consider worthwhile on behalf of or in relationship to anything that has anything to do with ANYTHING related to God. On the other hand, may God richly bless all those who agree with us.

AMEN

Let us begin…

Copyright 2021 by Bob Shutes