St Paul - the Apostle I never knew

St Paul - the Apostle I never knew.....

I have been doing some research on St Paul, a person of interest to me for some time. I am compiling what I hope will be a course at the least a book (eventually).

I was unaware at Paul's lack of confidence in his somewhat self-proclaimed apostleship and how much resistance he had to his status from the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem. Also from Luke himself, the author of his Damascus story in Acts, who claims to say that Paul's experience of a visitation from the Christ, was not at the same level as those that the disciples experienced, so saying casting a question mark over his status as an apostle and his calling. The latter seems quite clear in the scriptures, that is, that God called Paul to minister to the Gentiles, however the apostleship is less easy to validate.

I was also unaware of the significance of the words that Paul's new converts recited as they emerged from the water after baptism - "There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Jesus Christ.' (Galatians 3:28). This confirms the emphasis that has been revealed in my research, of Paul's great concern for unity and egalitarian living within his communities of converts. This puts paid to the frequent accusation that Paul was a misogynist.

I really enjoyed the part of Paul's theology where he argues very emphatically that Christ is not 'out there' but he is within each of us and in all of creation. That we have a divine DNA running through us, which joins every one of us who love Christ, into community with one another and with creation. I do not follow Christ, he lives in me. This is something that I can really relate to and embrace. It is synergistic with the thinking of the great Mystics like Thomas Merton, Richard Rohr, Cynthia Bourgeault and many others. Indeed Richard Rohr refers to Paul as the first mystic.

This is just a taster of what I am experiencing as I journey on my walk through Paul's life. Perhaps another blog later will say more....

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