Wednesday, July 31, 2013

My Favorite Apostle

I have a favorite apostle. (Doesn't everyone?) He would be Saul of Tarsus, later called Paul. Saul had an interesting life. He was born a Jew in Tarsus, Turkey. His father was a Roman citizen. Apparently, they were a family of some means and stature. His parents sent Paul off to the school of a famous rabbi named Gamaliel. Saul was educated and a Pharisee. He devoted his early religious life to trying to destroy the newly forming Christian Church. As it was with most people in those days, they had to work at a trade to support themselves even as they did religious work. Saul learned the trade of making mohair cloth and using that to make tents.

Saul was a traveler. He traveled all over eastern Asia and into Europe. Starting his life campaigning against Christianity. As both a Jew and a Roman he could travel unhindered. Saul"s life changed on the road to Damascus. He had his epiphany. It is said that he heard Jesus voice asking Saul why he persecuted Christians. Paul was struck blind during the encounter and had to be led by the hand into the city. Three days later his sight was restored by Ananias and his conversion was complete. Many people think that this was the point where he changed his name to Paul. Actually Paul was the Roman equal to the Hebrew name, Saul. He actually went by both names through much of his life.

After his conversion, Paul traveled the known world tirelessly founding many Christian Churches and writing epistles to his fellow churchmen. Some of those epistles helped to form much of what today is the new testament.

So why is he my favorite apostle? Here was a man who was going full bore in the wrong direction based on his early education and training. I suspect that today some would describe him as "thick as a stump". But he got a major slap in the head that caused him to look at things differently. He realized the error of his ways in the persecution of Christians.

Now, realizing that his life and thoughts were on the wrong path he did a complete one-eighty and went off in the other direction repairing what he had done and trying to make the world better. In other words, Paul, Saul of Tarsus, is an example for our time.

There are those out there in government and the media today that do this country more harm than good. The race baiters, those with a social agenda that hurts the economy, those that would destroy the free enterprise system, those that seek equality of results rather that equality of opportunity. They need their epiphany. They need their slap in the head. We need them to reverse their course before they do more harm.  

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