Monday, March 19, 2012

In Search Of Truth, Acts 21:27-36

In verses 10 and 11 of this chapter, we read that a prophet named Agabus warned Paul that he would be captured and bound if he went to Jerusalem. Paul's friends begged him not to go in light of this information, but Paul was determined to do what God had called him to do in Jerusalem. Now we see this prophecy coming true.

Although Paul attempted to show his support of Jewish culture by accompanying several temple-goers and paying for their temple services, this wasn't enough. Many of the Jews in Jerusalem thought Paul had been teaching other Jews to throw away the traditions given to them by Moses, and soon the whole city became stirred up over Paul, erupting into a riot.

Tempers flared and truth became of little concern. Word passed through the crowd that Paul had brought a Gentile into the temple (an offense calling for the death penalty). This was assumed simply because Paul had been seen in the city with a Gentile, which gives us a further idea of how intense the prejudice was in Jerusalem at this time. (v.27-29)

Soon the crowd was beyond all reason, preparing to kill Paul over this misunderstanding. Before it came to that, Roman officers and soldiers became involved, though not in time to save Paul from harm.

Even after neutralizing the situation, the officers still couldn't get a sense of the truth. Everyone was shouting a different story and none of it was helping to clarify what was really going on. Even as Paul was being taken away to the barracks, the mob was still furious. (v.30-36)

Although this scenario may feel pretty far removed from our personal experiences, the relationship between anger and truth plays out in a similar way in non-violent social interaction. Some of the most important things in the world are so rarely discussed because we don't know how to control our anger. And when they are discussed, our anger closes us to hearing truth or speaking it with consideration and clarity.

For many of us geeks, the prospect of talking about matters of faith with anyone that disagrees with us is extremely daunting. (It's often hard enough for us to carry on mundane conversation for extended periods.) But who God is and who we are in light of him, are among the most important conversations we can have.

Ever start to burn up inside when someone rags on your geek flavor of choice? DC vs Marvel, 3E vs. 4E D&D, 360 vs Wii or Team Edward vs... Team "whats-his-name werewolf guy with no shirt". (Sorry, never got into Twilight myself.) These conversations would be a great place to start practicing a detachment from our anger. All our geek entertainment passions are just flavors of ice-cream anyway. But learning to talk about and enjoy our differences as geeks can help prepare us for those conversations that matter more than any others.

If you'd like to get some practice geeking out or talking about important issues of life and faith, we've got a community you can do that with at The forums are filled with all kinds of geeks and we'd love to connect with you there, too!

Next- Paul sets the record straight

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