Side

I confess, I will read the collections of stories about, for instance, the worst customer a food-service employee ever had.  Then I’ll read one about the worst service anyone ever got from a waiter or waitress.  And I find myself wondering, maybe these are just the same stories told from two different perspectives.  Maybe they are equally insensitive, equally impatient, equally self-involved.

There is always another side to the story. 

A possible root of the problem

When Paul said goodbye to the Ephesian elders in Miletus, he told them he knew he would never see their faces again (Acts 20:25).  However, his dealings with the church at Ephesus were not entirely completed, according to 1 Timothy 1:3,  If we believe Paul was guided by inspiration in Miletus, we have to take him at his word.  That means the church at Ephesus during Paul’s third preaching tour was dramatically different from the one with which Timothy was working just six or seven years later.

What happened?

Chickadees

A flock of what appeared to be black-capped chickadees descended on the church property this week.  (Forgive me, Mom, if I’m ornithologically incorrect here.)  Tiny little things, just hopping all over the place looking for seeds.  Peck.  Hop.  Peck.  Hop.  Peck.

A proper cause for boasting

Like the rest of us, Paul had plenty of opportunities for boasting if he were inclined to seek them. He lists some of them in Philippians 3:5-6. Circumcised. Descended from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Devout follower of Jehovah God for his entire life. A spotless reputation for righteousness among all who knew him. Such things were, in fact, used by many Jewish Christians to distance themselves morally and spiritually from others, particularly Gentiles.

But Paul abandoned such things.