Sunday, August 07, 2011


Having a bit of a U-turn about Paul (the apostle, you know?)

A decade or so back, I struggled (first subconsciously and later in full awareness) with a university Christian Union and a "the bible should be taken literally except that's not possible so we pretend to while actually imposing on it our own agenda" type church for a while. Both places heralded Paul as their scriptural champion. One advocate actually warned me against missing out on Paul due to taking Jesus' example too seriously (!) So I got a bit prejudiced.

Paul was obviously IMPORTANT but he was also PROBLEMATIC as a hyper-masculine, emotion-o-phobe, pin down the theory and batten down the hatches to mystery, inscrutable, (wannabe) academic, anti-women, pro-hell type of guy.

On re-reading today, with a more open mind, I find I am surprised and pleased with the tone of Paul's letters.

His letters are actually very emotional, gushing, here-there-and-everywhere. Yes, they suggest great learning and intellect but in a rather chaotic, dashing this all down, too much to say too little time, can't be bothered to proofread type way. They are obsessed with the individual circumstances of the readers, their spiritual struggles and their personal lives.

There is much femininity here. Often the intense theological grappling is disrupted by an outburst of "Oh, I don't know, but isn't God great anyway!"

I think I would have liked Paul, in fact. A revelation!