Once upon a time, as a young person, I didn't even think about how our minister arrived at what he was preaching. I guess I thought Christianity came in one swoop, all done up with a big bow on top. The theology I heard I assumed was the way it was in reality.
Wow! Was I disillusioned when I discovered there have been fights over this and that from the gitgo, and a lot of violence too. And, I discovered even now there is no consensus on many things that are really important.
Gregory of Nyssa is a case in point. Almost all of his family were named saints as was he. He is often spoken of as the founder of mystical theology. He said, "Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God." He stressed knowing God in the darkness as well as the light. The utmost, in his view, was the way of union through love. Those who thought faith was "it" argued vehemently.
But then there was Maximus the Confessor. He thought Jesus must have had two wills (since will pertains to a nature rather than a person), both a Divine will and a human will. He was charged with treason, banished, tried again, had his tongue torn out and his right hand cut off. He died shortly after this. BUT 18 years later, he was vindicated at the 6th Counsel at Constantinople and to this day is revered as a saint.
It hurts my heart that men make up sets of beliefs we have to agree with, and do violent things to people who view whatever it is in a different way. This has gone on from the very first.
If we just study what Jesus actually said and did and asked us to do, we can hear directly and simply. We can jettison the theology fights and obscure pronouncements. We don't need the good ole boys blustering, fighting and maiming in the name of the rabbi who taught love, generosity and forgiveness.
Let's just follow by being as much like Him as we can possibly be. Let's give the world a Christmas present this year of following Him for real.