A pastor was having a difficult time reading the book of Acts because
she kept thinking about the imperial context in which it is set. How is
her/our understanding of the story changed if we keep in mind that
Jerusalem falls well within the bounds of the Roman Empire?
Our culture’s ever-increasing individualism is about to take a decisive turn. Any day now self-checkout lanes in our stores will outnumber the lanes that lead shoppers to a human cashier. At that point, “going to the market” will become a solitary enterprise.
Our reformer ancestors would be appalled by some of the small traditions of joy and triumph that have crept into the Christian celebration of Pentecost. We’ve added trumpet blasts to mimic the great sound of the wind of the spirit, we wave red streamers on bamboo rods, raise clouds of red and white balloons, and even nibble on birthday cakes for the church. We want to signal “Tada!” We made it!
Never in my life has the violence in the Gospel of John seemed so recognizable. Now it corresponds to the daily news: a man fears going out in public in Jerusalem, as Jesus did on that festival of booths. This simple act can result in either glory or destruction, depending on whether “the street” murmurs disapproval or approbation.
From the time I was a little girl I have loved international airports. In short segments of time you encounter diverse and colorfully costumed people from all over the earth arriving and dispersing throughout a web of corridors and platforms and waiting areas. You hear conversations in dozens of languages as people hurry toward their destinations.