“It is a question of being homeless, propertyless, peripatetic, celibate, socially marginal, disdainful of kinsfolk, averse to material possessions, a friend of outcasts and pariahs, a thorn in the side of the Establishment and scourge of the rich and powerful.” ~ Terry Eagleton, Culture and the Death of God
Arguably, it was the presence of Christianity in the Roman Empire that turned socially accepted tiers of human hierarchies and practices up-side-down, albeit slowly penetrating the social fabric of the Greco-Roman world through the formation of a household platform (literally) that inaugurated a social mapping revolution. Some cast early Christianity as a protest movement against an oppressive, imperial empire, yet the apostolic and early church lacked any power or leverage for such social and cultural revolution. New Testament writers did not seek to overthrow authority structures wherein the gathered-church inhabited. Nonetheless, the household gathered-church, along with their table-fellowship (i.e., the common meal/the Lord’s Supper) and other early gathered-church practices (i.e., household baptism and kiss), was the platform for making known God’s cosmic reconciliation.
In this paper, I suggest it was the narrative of the gospel as it intruded upon the Gentile world in the midst of the local, household gathered-church that changed everything--that more noble idea. It is my thesis that the gospel let loose (applied and socially forming) among household gathered-churches changed existing social mapping, worked out through the habitus taught and implied (i.e., trajectory application) by NT teaching. My concern is to hear how relevant narrative choices in Acts speak to the household gathered-church and how its habitus resulted in new social-mapping (forms and habits) consistent with the gospel and the meaning of the cross.
Part 1 | Part 2a | Part 2b | Part 2c | Part 3 | Part 3a | Part 3b | Part 4a | Part 4b | Part 5
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