Okay, bear with me here.

I have this idea that my readers are just sitting on the edge of their seats, wailing plaintively, “Oh, please!  Please! Tell me about the Councils of the Church!”

Well, not really.

I do think, though, that there’s a lot of pushing and pulling, prodding and plundering that goes on in the on-line world, as believers jostle to claim their First  Place “I Am Right” Badges.

If you’re not one of those folks who cares about Being Right All The Time, In Every Conversation, then roll on and go read one more article about Lady Gaga.  But I invite you to join me, sit a spell, say a silent prayer, and let’s dive right in to think about some serious matters.  Because that, after all, is what the Councils were about.

Over the next few months, every week or so, I plan to introduce a conversation about first things: about Truth and Error, Heresy and Hearsay, Reform and Repair and Reconciliation.

We’re gonna talk about the Councils of the Church.

In my youth, I hated studying the Councils when I could, instead, have been watching American Bandstand.  But now I get it:  Those church fathers were struggling with the stuff of life, with how to live, with who we are and who Jesus is.  Important Stuff!

A few years ago, I had the wonderful opportunity to take a wine tour of France.  We rolled along, through fields and vineyards and over gentle hills, stopping along the way at small chapels and majestic cathedrals.  We saw statues with their hands and heads lopped off by French reformers or Albigensians, churches that had been used to stable horses during the French Revolution.  I came to realize that we were really on a kind of Heresy Tour—one that would make big bucks for the travel agent savvy enough to market it in that way and design a glossy brochure.

Learning about the Church Councils is like that:  History on the one hand, but really it’s a ringside seat at a knock-down, drag-out fight for Truth.  I like that stuff!

We’ll need a roadmap, and we’ll set off—like a Sunday ride in the country, we’ll learn as we go, thinking and talking about the things we see along the way.  Here’s your map, and I’ll see you later.

First stop:  Who do people say that I am?