April 30, 2010 | 09:31 am

Friday – Those are Fighting Words

 

Last Sunday in our adult education class we talked about Priscillian, Bishop of Avila. He holds the distinction of being the first Christian put to death for heresy. This occurred in 385 CE and marks a tragic turn in how faith is approached.  I love theology and think there is something at stake in what we believe. But I am also puzzled how people who say they want to spread the love of Christ can be so unchristlike in how they treat each other. Through history we have fought over things like the hypostasis of Christ’s divinity and humanity, and whether the filioque clause belongs in our creeds (Google these items for fun). And though these are debatable topics, they do not sound like fighting words to me.
 
John 13:35 says that if we love one another, then people will know we are followers of Christ. Here’s a question: if the only thing people knew about God was based on how we lived, what would they think? Stating it this way may seem to place undue pressure to live life perfectly. But the text does not point to a perfect life. It points to a loving life. We may lead untidy lives and have heretical thoughts, but the singular criterion is how we love one another. A simple but revolutionary idea!