Paul and a Hostile Culture

Today’s reading is Acts 17: 16-34

rootedchristToday we see an interesting lesson from Paul in how to deal with a hostile culture.  He goes to Athens, which was one of the largest and more influential cities in the world at that time. It was also a place that had a passing knowledge of the Jewish tradition and Christianity was entirely new and unheard of.  They take Paul to where they debate all day long and listen to him speak. I think what he does in this moment is very interesting. Remember, this is a group that would not have much knowledge of Paul, Judism, or Jesus Christ. What does Paul do?

He reminds them that they are loved by God. In God we all move and have our being. They may not know this “unknown” God but this God knows them and loves them.  They are loved and valued.

He uses their culture to point out God’s truth.  One of their view own poets says that they too are His offspring.  He doesn’t beat them up for not knowing God, but he points out how even their culture points to who God is.  I think that is so big, in a culture that seems to be daily turning from God to point out how our culture points to God.  He is present in all of life.

He calls them to something higher.  He points to the resurrection. There is something higher, bigger, and better available, all through Jesus.

He loves.  He points.  He affirms.  He lifts up.  He doesn’t beat up.  He doesn’t condescend.  He doesn’t turn away from.  He loves and points to Jesus.

May that be a lesson to us, in our culture.

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