Acts, Diversity – and Cultural Competence

Jesus Creed | 7/16/2019 | Staff
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The ministry of the Apostle Paul is essentially the Seven Deacons’ service raised to the next level. In this post we will explore some of the ways in which Paul builds on Stephen’s insight throughout his missionary journeys (Acts 8-26).

A Personal Re-introduction: An American (Citizen) in Manila?

Family - Vacation - Philippines - Onset - Martial

Our family vacation in the Philippines coincided with the onset of Martial Law. My Dad was proud of his naturalized US citizenship (“I know more about this country than people who were born here”) and he often repeated my birthright – he could never be elected president, but I could. Dad even speculated that our citizenship might offer some protection should we encounter violent political unrest.

I spent much of that summer in Manila with my Favorite Aunt. She went to college in the US and had clear ties to the Marcos opposition party. Together we watched a lot of movies. She showed me a review of “The Exorcist” from a local newspaper published in English. The critic’s tone surprised me. Why are American audiences so terrified by this storyline? Here in the Philippines we have any number of faith healers who are more than up to this task.

Story - Aspects - Discussion - Acts - Date

My story re-visits several aspects in our discussion of Acts to date: language, place of residence, generations, and politics. It adds citizenship, acknowledging some of its privileges, and depicts a difference in religious tradition – not in-group (recalling how the Jewish community the Jerusalem church drew from included both Sadducees and Pharisees) but in this case, across cultures.

“And when the blood of your witness Stephen was shed, I myself was standing nearby, approving, and guarding the cloaks of those who were killing him.”

Things - Stephen - Paul - Jews

Many of the things I have already noted about Stephen are also true of Paul. Both are Jews, and are able to switch back and...
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