Truth and wisdom

Jesus called King Herod “that fox.” He relativized Roman power: “Give to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” Don’t look to emperors for truth or wisdom.

In 312, Emperor Constantine embraced Christianity, which he saw as a unifying force within the empire. He convened the Council of Nicea in 325 to create greater uniformity in the church.

When Christianity became the empire’s official religion, the politics of power reshaped its understanding of truth (or wisdom), emphasizing conformity of behavior and belief.

Dissenters went to desert hermitages or monasteries. Roberta Bondi found truth and wisdom in her study of the solitude-seekers we know as the desert fathers and mothers. Bondi said:

…they convinced me that there is a real trajectory to … human life … summarized in Jesus’ great commandment: we are to spend our lives learning to love God with all our hearts and our neighbors as ourselves. And they convinced me … this really is our lifetime’s work, it will get easier and better as we grow into that love. This insight was totally contrary to the prevailing conventional view that old age means life gets worse.

Roberta Bondi

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