Candida Moss unravels a common misperception: that Christianity faced murderous government-sanctioned persecution for its first three centuries, a period in which “the blood of the martyrs” supplied seed for the growing church. Grounded in ten years of research on martyr traditions, Moss’s basic position will surprise few historians.
This week's reading tells us in clear, compelling words where the Christian life begins and ends, where the church finds its purpose. It’s not with condemnation; it’s with love. It’s a commandment from Christ. It’s a gift, and it is new. What an interesting collection of descriptors.
The people in an Ohio county were angry with the area’s red foxes because they had eaten some of the people’s domestic chickens and many of the wild quail. So 600 men, women and children formed a circle five miles across, walked through the woods and frightened the foxes out into the open by shouting. Inside of a shrinking circle the foxes ran about in panic, exhausting themselves.
One summer when I was a children’s camp counselor at a Presbyterian camp in northern Indiana, I spent long days listening to what we counselors affectionately referred to as nonstop “wubbins questions.”