Spending all our time discussing the latest ideas

This passage from Acts 17 made me laugh in recognition. How many of us are like the First Century Athenians, followers of anything that is new: academic trends, social networks, the 24-hour news feeds? Paul's message was simple: that the God and peace we seek is close at hand and the one we're most tempted to overlook.

It should be explained that all the Athenians as well as the foreigners in Athens seemed to spend all their time discussing the latest ideas. So Paul, standing before the council, addressed them as follows: "Men of Athens, I notice that you are very religious in every way, for as I was walking along I saw your many shrines. And on of your altars had this inscription on it: 'To an Unknown God.' This God, whom you worship without knowing, is the one I'm telling you about.
He is the God who made the world and everything in it... His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feeling their way toward him and find him--though he is not very far from any one of us. For in him we live and move and exist.

This is the New Living Translation.

  • TheYel­low­Dart

    I used to enjoy this song as a kid.…


    which is from the end of this sec­tion of Acts here.

    Hav­ing read this sec­tion many times, at some point in my late teen years, I came to real­ize that reli­gion is not a good thing. And reli­gion is what Jesus came to set us free from. I looked up the root word for reli­gion which is akin to bondage. This is when I became a total lib­er­tar­i­an. I think our rela­tion­ship with Jesus changes us per­son­al­ly day by day, and as we relate to oth­ers we learn and grow from each oth­er. But every oth­er human being that we are not in close rela­tion­ship with should be giv­en the free­dom and grace to do as they wish so long as they do not harm oth­ers’ life, lib­er­ty or prop­er­ty. I tru­ly see this as the only con­sis­tent non-coercion non-force mes­sage of the Christ. We fol­low him or don’t fol­low him freely. And we allow oth­ers to also fol­low their con­science on how they assign val­ue to var­i­ous things. Those things that we view as impor­tant like Jesus for instance is some­thing we want to con­vince peo­ple of, but not force. The way of char­i­ty and per­son­al sobri­ety is up to the indi­vid­ual, and they should nev­er be forced by a church or the state to be char­i­ta­ble or sober. We should be influ­en­tial in those and oth­er areas as we fol­low Jesus, but we should nev­er expect the police pow­er of the state or the reli­gion of the insti­tu­tion­al church to usurp this per­son­al respon­si­bil­i­ty we have to lov­ing encour­age our fam­i­ly, friends, neigh­bors, co-workers, etc… to also fol­low the peace­ful, char­i­ta­ble, and lov­ing way of Jesus.