In How to Read a Book, Mortimer J. Adler advises reading a book taking an overview, then reading the arguments, then outlining and thinking of the whole. He suggests you’ll only read a few books a year with that thoroughness. He’s right.

Some people stop reading the Christian scriptures after compiling a sufficient number of rules to live by (or force others to live by). It is a very good practice to take our point of view out much wider and consider the scope of all the writers and documents.

While doing that practice over the weekend, I was struck by the diversity of peoples. Jesus, as a rabbi, was supposed to interact mainly with Jewish male people. Or, perhaps “good” Jewish male people.

What do we find? Jesus had many women among his retinue. Jesus dealt person-to-person with Romans, Syro-Phoenicians, Syrians, Samaritans, and most likely many more. There would have been peoples from the land we now call Turkey. Most likely some Egyptians. Most likely Babylonians and Persians.

Later Philip evangelized a black person. There were eunuchs. Peter had a dream where God told him it was OK to associate with people who were not Jewish. Paul accepted women leaders and worked with a wide variety of people on his journeys.

People were accepted where they were and how they were. And people were attracted by the love they saw expressed by followers of the Way even toward them.

I think that is all meant to be an instruction for us. Look around. Whom do you see?

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