Those Were The Days

The first, second, and even third century Christians lived in such a way that people from the outside community at large were attracted to the Way.

They were attracted despite the periodic oppression by civil authorities that could lead to anything from penal servitude to (literally) being fed to the lions.

Reading the Didache, perhaps the oldest teaching document we have aside from the New Testament, which begins with the first commandment–love God and love your neighbor. Then it talks about giving gifts. And how to live a humble life.

Then in the fourth century the church became legal and by the fifth century Christianity became a “church” religion where most people were expected to go and listen to priests.

A question for us in the twenty-first century, especially in America–are we living in a way that attracts people or repulses people? Are we attracting people by our love or repulsing away the undesirable sinners? Or spending time trying to enact laws to force people to behave the way we think they should?

It’s all about the attitude of our heart. Our discipline is to practice prayer, meditation, study to open us to people rather than to fence us in to keep people we don’t like out.

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