I read Alan Krieder’s The Patient Ferment of the Early Church: The Improbable Rise of Christianity in the Roman Empire. It’s about how the early church grew despite persecution. They didn’t evangelize, but it was by how they lived.
Yet, to do that, they had to wrestle with moral dilemmas.
Before Constantine legalized Christianity, there were periodic bouts of persecution. If not in general by authorities, they also faced Roman culture’s way of doing things. Kreider calls it their habitus, or how they reflexively lived.
Christians developed their own reflexive habits, then trained those interested (catuchems) before they were even allowed to worship or be baptized.
As an aside, if you’re trying to protect a church, you need to vet the people. As I read, I wondered if it was the same today, would I have made it into the church?
How I came by the book, it was referenced in a sermon and class. So when two brilliant people I know read it and struggle, I want to read it too.
The cognitive dissonance is strong in this one.
A scenario was brought up from the book as one of the early church’s moral dilemmas in class.
You and your spouse are believers. Unfortunately, you’re also Roman slaves. If your master wants to have sex with your spouse, what do you guys do?
What’s the loving thing to do?
Do you protest?
Do you fight?
I suggested he gets to meet Jesus that night. At times, I’m barely sanctified.
Lately, now that I have kids, I’m wrestling with things myself. How far can I go to protect them? What are the rules of engagement?
I’m not only thinking of physical harm. This messed-up illogical culture is also dangerous.
If you’ve noticed that some posts on Mondays have more questions than statements, I’m wrestling with it. In addition, I’m working on my habitus.
I want to be a warrior in a garden, not a gardener in a war.