The story of Israel as told in the Bible is a strange one. Whereas most of us tell stories that are carefully edited to justify our choices and responses to conflicts and minimize the impacts of our mistakes, the authors and editors of what we Christians call the Old Testament didn't do this. This story … Continue reading The Fight for Faith
I ended the previous post in this series reflecting on Empire with a quote from Paul's letter to the Romans. No exploration of how the New Testament related to the Roman Empire would be complete without a look this letter, written into the very heart of the Empire itself. But of course, not all Romans … Continue reading Whose Are You?
Jesus' parables — analogies that explain the Kingdom of God — are one of the hallmarks of his teaching. A picture is worth a thousand words, as they say, and the pictures Jesus uses do much to open our minds to the nature of life with God. (Of course, as Jesus pointed out, if we … Continue reading Parables of the Kingdom
One of the most startling events in Christian history, and indeed one of the most game-changing events in Western history, was the Emperor Constantine's conversion to Christianity in the early fourth century. While the whole process of the "Christianization" of the Roman Empire took decades, Constantine's favoring of this once-despised sect set off a monumental … Continue reading “Not Like the Gentiles”: Empire vs. God’s Kingdom
We in the twenty-first century West — especially those of us with European ancestry — often bristle at the idea that Western culture can still be significantly understood as "Empire." Because we live in democratic societies, take our legal and political freedoms seriously, and, for the most part look back at the era of European … Continue reading Empire: A Brief History