May 15, 2013 6 Comments
You know, I used to write some about Christianity, for the most part, I don’t anymore. There is a reason for that, and it’s not that I’ve changed.
The reason is that my co-author, Jess and her contributors, at All along the Watchtower, do a far better job, so why be a pale imitation, when you can go and read the real thing. Watching it grow from its founding one year ago today (I found it at the end of June)has been one of the favorite things in my life.
Jess has taken it from post number one through 760+ posts and 62,000 views and 12,000+ comments, with six authors, and more to the point she has done it without losing the special tone that she imparts to it.
I am to blame for her sometimes being called the Chatelaine and I am quite proud of it but I may have been superseded this week when a distinguished commenter said this.”…Your blog is turning into a fascinating salon, with yourself as a deft and sympathetic Madame Recamier.” I will easily yield pride of place for that title.
I have no idea of how Jess has done it but she has managed to take a bunch of very strong willed Christians from across the spectrum, as well as the globe, and get us to all play nice (mostly) with each other. It’s a very impressive performance.
So follow this link over and say congratulations to her, and then look around a bit at what I firmly believe is the best ecumenical (while not syncretic) blog in all the internet. I promise you’ll be fascinated, and most likely enchanted as well.
For myself, I’,m very proud to be her friend, and to share my little pulpit with her.
Happy Anniversary, Jess, and many more.
And then; there is this
From the Washington Post:
Growing up Catholic in England, Candida Moss felt secure in life, yet was told in church that Christians have been persecuted since the dawn of Christianity. Now, as an adult and a theologian, she wants to set the record straight.Too many modern Christians invoke, to lamentable effect, an ancient history of persecution that didn’t exist, Moss argues in her newly published book, “The Myth of Persecution: How Early Christians Invented A Story of Martyrdom.”Although anti-Christian prejudice was fairly widespread in the church’s first 300 years, she writes, “the prosecution of Christians was rare, and the persecution of Christians was limited to no more than a handful of years.” We asked Moss, professor of New Testament and early Christianity at the University of Notre Dame, to talk about the travails of early Christians, and how they are misappropriated in the public sphere today. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Q: You argue that modern myths of Christian persecution are rooted in an ancient myth, and you focus on Pliny, a first- and second-century Roman who governed what is now Turkey. Why should we know about him?
A: He’s the first Roman official to actually talk about Christians. He writes to the Emperor Trajan and says, “What am I supposed to do about them? They’re not doing anything wrong, but when they’re in the courtroom they’re very stubborn.” Those charges could get you killed in the Roman world. And Pliny has other concerns: Christians were not purchasing the meat associated with the Roman temples. And he thinks of Christians not as a religious group, but prone to superstition, which the Romans considered a kind of madness that could spread like a disease.
Pliny and Trajan agree that there will be no seeking out of Christians, but if they do end up in courtrooms and are stubborn, he will give them three chances to curse Christ and make a sacrifice in the Roman temple. If they don’t, they will be killed. I’m not saying what Pliny did was right, but it’s very far from the story I grew up with, about Christians being hunted down.
Which is sort of fine, her examples are, I think, correct. But it strikes me as very disingenuous to write an article on persecution of Christians, and not mention Nero. It strikes me also as far beyond reason to write that article without mentioning either classical or modern Islam. And so what we have here is a very slanted article, designed more than anything to get Obama of the hook for the birth control mandate. And my verdict on the effort?
- Religious Persecution is Not a Myth (ihaveseengod.wordpress.com)