If you decide to make the teachings of St. Paul useful for your daily life, you will have to be careful to sort through the cultural context of that 1st century man and understand what caused him to write what he did, in the way he did.
This would be true if you or I wrote a letter that was read many years later. People in that distant time wouldn’t recognize references to beliefs, policies, traditions, and technology, unless they decided to work hard to understand those things and how they affected the content of our letter. I hope they might wonder “what is food insecurity, what is an arms race, and what’s up with people calling each other tree huggers?” (Okay so I have a utopian hope for the future.)
So in the teachings of Paul — we find some things that make little practical or theological sense to us in today’s world, and yet there are some timeless ideals that come through in his writings. As I sit in my office today with the troubling current events swirling in my mind, some of his words surfaced in my brain, and I started thinking about what seems to me to be a fact — whoever wins the presidential race, I/we still have work to do.
So, adding my own foreword and echoing Paul, (who wrote to convince people of his understanding of what it means to follow Jesus):
No matter who wins — Share with people who are in need.
No matter who wins — Consider everyone as equal, don’t think you are better than anyone else.
No matter who wins — Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
I hope you will join us Sunday in DiscipleChurch to think about these things. Don’t worry, I see how hard they are too. See you in Leonard Chapel!