His hands trembled, but he refused to look down. He wouldn’t give them the satisfaction. Not now. Not ever.
He wasn’t surprised—anyone paying attention for the last several days could see it coming. But it still hurt to hear the judgment of his peers, that awful act of condemnation contained in one fearful, hate-filled word, the word that sealed his fate.
It wouldn’t be official until they all signed the declaration, but he knew it was over. They had made their decision.
His hands trembled again, but now from a bone-deep weariness, an almost debilitating sadness that they couldn’t see any truth beyond the narrow confines of their accepted dogmas. Yes, he saw things differently. But was that so bad? Given the infinite mysteries of the divine being, could there not be room for more than one view?
But no, though he’d hoped in the beginning that it might be so, now he knew better. They would never allow it. They couldn’t see it. Theirs was the only way; all others must be wrong.
So he would be ostracized for being different, thinking differently.
He still refused to look down. He had nothing to be ashamed of. Maybe if he embraced his fate, meeting their condemnation with determination, others would see the truth: not that he was right, but that there can be many truths, or at least many perspectives on the truth. No one should have the power to force God’s people into a single mold. He is too big, too diverse, too creative for that.
If a heretic is someone who thinks differently, creatively, even courageously, then a heretic is what he will be. Proudly.