St. Paul gets a bad rap sometimes.
A lot of that has to do with people misunderstanding many of the things he wrote, and a lot more has to do with the fact that many of the things written in his name were actually written by others, likely after his death, including many of the misogynistic portions of the New Testament.
But Paul’s writings are the oldest examples of Christian theology and doctrine, predating all of the gospels by at least a decade, and thus are a way for us to understand Christianity and the gospel in as authentic a way as possible. Reading Paul critically and curiously allows us a glimpse into the life of the very first churches—communities that sprang up in response to a gospel that was radical enough to be seen as a threat by the custodians of imperial power.
For our second summer sermon series this month, we will be exploring the book of Philippians, portions of which Paul wrote from a Roman prison to a church in the city of Philippi, which despite being a Greek city named after a Greek king, was so fervent in nationalistic zeal as to be called “little Rome.”
Aided by the scholarly work of Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan in The First Paul: Reclaiming the Radical Visionary Behind the Church’s Conservative Icon, we will search for ancient guidance on what it means to truly follow the crucified one in the midst of Empire.