People Change

There was a man. Within his race, religion, and culture, there were none smarter or more steadfast in the traditions.

He lived and taught the principles of strict separation of the races of people (one obviously better than the rest). He lived and taught the strict separation of the genders within religious gatherings (with one gender obviously better than the other).

One day while walking along a road, he experienced another man unlike anyone he had ever met. After that, he was taken to a place where he unlearned everything he had stuffed into his brain in his advanced PhD studies. He was shown and taught an entirely new way of thinking.

Afterward, he taught this entirely new way. Within the gatherings of people, he encouraged people of all races and genders to come together. All were permitted to pray and speak and lead. If there were multiple cultures present, they all had to learn to eat foods brought by others.

He taught about God’s grace and how we should love one another. Gone were his hatred and prejudices (well, mostly) replaced by openness and willingness to relate to all.

We call this man the Apostle Paul. We sometimes read what he wrote and apply interpretations that would surely astonish him.

I have been thinking lately that we need to study his life and how he changed and how he changed other people rather than parsing his words looking for rules to reinforce how good we feel about ourselves relative to others.

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