Back from a great vacation. Among my favorite parts was sitting near a creek that ran near the cabin and just noticing and soaking in the sights and sounds of that place. Changing light, butterflies (and other critters), how the water moved among the stones and fallen trees. It was very restful. Now its Cindy’s turn to take a break, spend time with family and travel a bit.
As we continue our Character’s Welcome series continues, the next two weeks we will focus on the story of Saul, or as he is better known, Paul. This character evokes strong reactions today – many find Paul highly objectionable – for there are passages in the writings attributed to him that endorse slavery, patriarchy and a number of other objectionable stances – and yet there are also passages which undermine and reject these same position! I think this is understandable for two reasons, First, the same person didn’t write all of it – rather some of the letters show us more about how the Church developed and struggled with its own relationship with the world over the first two centuries after Jesus. Second, Paul himself struggled to understand just what had happened. His story of conversion and call is well known – the road to Damascus – and yet was that a conversion at all? Paul lived and died a Jew after all – he changed, but conversion may not be quite the right word. Transformation, I think, is more accurate, and in that Paul is our companion on a journey each of us must make. Paul is quite a character, as is the much lesser known Ananias of Damascus, who is also called in unexpected ways. Who were these men – and what can we learn from it all that makes a difference as we walk our own life’s road? See you in worship!
This is my article for the Logos, the West Heights bi-weekly newsletter. WHUMC is located at 745 N. Westlink (near Central and Tyler) in Wichita. We’d love to have you visit – ~Christopher