If people ask me my religion, I usually tell them I’m catholic. If it’s another catholic, and we’re engaged in a theological discussion, I tell them I’m a Tertullian Papist, as it sounds cooler.

What did he say? It doesn't matter. It only matters that he said it.

Tertullian was an early (2nd century) Christian theologian, often called the father of Western Theology, the first to write Christian treatises in Latin, and in general, a fairly strong-willed individual. He developed or supported some ideas that were, at the time, thought to be heresy, but now universally embraced by Christians. (used the word Trinity lately? He coined it)

I am NOT a scholar capable of grokking what Tertullian wrote, or it’s place in the theological development of Christianity. I just like that he THOUGHT about what it meant to hold those beliefs, and what it implied. At his time, there were popes, but there weren’t millenia of weight behind them. The church was still settling. Constantine’s conversion was still a century away (called by my amazing deacon father in law, “the worst thing to ever happen to the church”).

So my Tertullianism isn’t based in deep and intricate theological studies, and certainly not in rebellion against the church. Rather, it informs my faith, and helps me take an active part in its development, particularly when challenged by my church with things that seem to run logically counter to my own understanding.

Case in point. Father Tim Clark of Our Lady of the Lake up in Seattle. He took an action that I’m afraid is being held up by progressives as rebelling against his archbishop. I say, “NO!”

He’s not rebelling, he’s just loving in a different direction. I hope people focus on that positive more than on any implied divisiveness.

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