I just finished reading a couple of chapters of Against the World, The Odyssey of Athanasius, by Henry W. Coray to the kids. There's a picture of it in the sidebar. It's quite exciting for me for several reasons. I am not a great reader. On my own, it is a real challenge to read about church history and theology in particular. Obviously, having time to do it is part of the issue. I do try to discipline myself to fit it in, but I confess, it's rare. I am finding that reading it aloud to the children is the greatest avenue for me to do it. It's so great to have kids big enough to share this with. Reading it together gives us the opportunity to discuss it and makes what would usually be hard for me, much easier.
I feel so stirred up after each reading of this book. Hearing about the debates and battles that were fought to protect orthodox Christianity is so inspiring! I feel my own faith strengthened and my ability to defend it increased. The chapters we read today were about the Council of Nicea. Athanasius was there, representing the orthodox view of the diety of Christ. For a portion of the debate, the Arian idea that Christ was like God, but not the same as God, was the popular view and looked to be the winning argument. A priest who was persuaded of this heresy, privately asked Athanasius, "Why do you not admit it? You are fighting a losing battle. Do you not know that at this moment the whole world is against Athanasius?" His famous reply, "Is the world against Athanasius? So be it. Then Athanasius is against the world!"
We met a lovely family this last summer who named their youngest son Athanasius. Marvelous namesake.