Untidy Faith

Acts 21-22 | Kristin Garrett and Drew Dixon

March 07, 2022 Kate Boyd ⎜ Writer, Speaker, Bible Teacher, Biblical Community Coach Season 5 Episode 11
Acts 21-22 | Kristin Garrett and Drew Dixon
Untidy Faith
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Untidy Faith
Acts 21-22 | Kristin Garrett and Drew Dixon
Mar 07, 2022 Season 5 Episode 11
Kate Boyd ⎜ Writer, Speaker, Bible Teacher, Biblical Community Coach

My guests today are Drew Dixon and Kristin Garrett.

Drew Dixon is a minister and spiritual director in Auburn, WA who longs to serve and shape the church through teaching, spiritual formation, and pastoral care. Drew currently serves at Federal Way Church of Christ where he regularly preaches, creates spiritual resources, and provides care to the congregation. He also facilitates listening spaces for individuals and community through spiritual direction and as a coordinator with Renovaré’s Fellowship of the Burning Heart. During his downtime, Drew enjoys slow mornings, scenic walks, deep conversations, watching films, reading fantasy, history, and spiritual writings, and spending time with his wife, Katelyn (who is an incredible writer and photographer). You can find more from Drew or connect with him on his website: https://drewldixon.com/

Kristin Garrett is passionate about The Church and helping others disentangle cultural narratives and ideology from their understanding of what the Bible says about the Body of Christ. She is also passionate about discovering the roots of how disinformation infects groups and has spent part of the past year and half in a small disinformation work group.  Kristin has volunteered in special education advocacy and feels privileged to be in a church that is intentionally laying down a pathway to becoming more inclusive.  Kristin lives with her husband, Chris (a worship and youth pastor), their son, Samuel (a twice exceptional teenager) and their dog, Theo.  They love playing board games, riding bikes, going to speed cubing competitions and having (sometimes ridiculously complex) conversations about the intersection of philosophy, science, multidimensional theory and theology. 

Are you disentangling your faith from the culture around you? The greatest tool in that journey for me was the Bible itself. You’ve probably noticed that here on the show we love the Bible, and we take it seriously - but not always literally, and that means that meaning can get a little complicated. But you don’t have to let that overwhelm you. I’ve put together the Big Picture Toolkit to help you understand how all of Scripture fits together in one incredible story, learn some new questions to ask to get at meaning without getting overwhelmed, and see new connections between Old and New Testaments with a special Bible Reading Plan. If you’re ready to get back to basics of your faith, the Bible is a great place to start, and the Big Picture Bible Toolkit can help. Grab yours today free at kateboyd.co/bible.


Kate Boyd - Book | Newsletter | Instagram | Twitter

Show Notes Transcript

My guests today are Drew Dixon and Kristin Garrett.

Drew Dixon is a minister and spiritual director in Auburn, WA who longs to serve and shape the church through teaching, spiritual formation, and pastoral care. Drew currently serves at Federal Way Church of Christ where he regularly preaches, creates spiritual resources, and provides care to the congregation. He also facilitates listening spaces for individuals and community through spiritual direction and as a coordinator with Renovaré’s Fellowship of the Burning Heart. During his downtime, Drew enjoys slow mornings, scenic walks, deep conversations, watching films, reading fantasy, history, and spiritual writings, and spending time with his wife, Katelyn (who is an incredible writer and photographer). You can find more from Drew or connect with him on his website: https://drewldixon.com/

Kristin Garrett is passionate about The Church and helping others disentangle cultural narratives and ideology from their understanding of what the Bible says about the Body of Christ. She is also passionate about discovering the roots of how disinformation infects groups and has spent part of the past year and half in a small disinformation work group.  Kristin has volunteered in special education advocacy and feels privileged to be in a church that is intentionally laying down a pathway to becoming more inclusive.  Kristin lives with her husband, Chris (a worship and youth pastor), their son, Samuel (a twice exceptional teenager) and their dog, Theo.  They love playing board games, riding bikes, going to speed cubing competitions and having (sometimes ridiculously complex) conversations about the intersection of philosophy, science, multidimensional theory and theology. 

Are you disentangling your faith from the culture around you? The greatest tool in that journey for me was the Bible itself. You’ve probably noticed that here on the show we love the Bible, and we take it seriously - but not always literally, and that means that meaning can get a little complicated. But you don’t have to let that overwhelm you. I’ve put together the Big Picture Toolkit to help you understand how all of Scripture fits together in one incredible story, learn some new questions to ask to get at meaning without getting overwhelmed, and see new connections between Old and New Testaments with a special Bible Reading Plan. If you’re ready to get back to basics of your faith, the Bible is a great place to start, and the Big Picture Bible Toolkit can help. Grab yours today free at kateboyd.co/bible.


Kate Boyd - Book | Newsletter | Instagram | Twitter

Kate Boyd:

You're listening to happy and holy the podcast where scripture comes to life through a small group discussion. This season, we're walking through the birth of the church in the book of Acts. And you get to be a fly on the wall to see what new things we learn with and from one another, as we engage scripture in community. I'm your host, Kate Boyd. I'm a disciple maker, writer and speaker, who is making space in the church for Christians caught in the messy middle between conservative and progressive, between leaving the church and leaving. We love Jesus, love people and work with God and each other for a better world. Welcome to the show. Are you disentangling your faith in the culture around you? The greatest tool in that journey for me was the Bible. You probably noticed that here on the show, we love the Bible. And we take it very seriously. But we don't always take it literally. And that means that meaning can get a little complicated. But all of its complexity doesn't have to overwhelm you. And that's why I put together the big picture Bible toolkit. It will help you understand how all of Scripture fits together in one incredible story will also let you learn some new questions to ask to get at meaning without getting overwhelmed. And you'll see new connections between the Old Testament and the New Testament with a special Bible reading plan. If you're ready to get back to the basics of your faith, the Bible is a great place to start. And the big picture Bible toolkit will help you do that. Grab yours today for free at Kate boyd.co/bible. Now, let's get back to X. Welcome everybody. Today, we are diving in to Acts chapter 21 and 22. But before we do that, let me have my friends who are joining me today introduce themselves. Drew, why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Drew Dixon:

Yes, hello, I'm Drew Dixon. I live in Auburn, Washington, which is just south of Seattle. I'm a minister at a small church in Federal Way, Washington, which is just a town over from where I live. And I'm also a spiritual director. And that's been sort of a newer practice that I've entered into. It's been really, really fun. But I'm I'm very excited to be here today and look forward to our conversation.

Kate Boyd:

Wow, thanks. And Kristin, finally talk about you.

Kristin Garrett:

Hi, I'm Christine Garrett. And I live outside of Washington, DC along the Chesapeake Bay, with my family, my dog, my son, Samuel, who's 16. And my husband is a youth pastor and worship director at a local church here. I'm very excited about our conversation today and digging into the Bible with other people in this way.

Kate Boyd:

Yeah. And I'm smack dab in the middle of the country in Texas. So we're sort of we're coast to coast today. Well, thank you guys for hanging out with me today. Um, like I said, x 21 and 22, which are some interesting chapters. So we're gonna take it from the top 21 that Kristin, will you just want to recapping this chapter.

Kristin Garrett:

Okay, sure. So when we started the beginning of x 21, Paul is on the path to Jerusalem. He's been criss crossing through Asia Minor in Greece in previous chapters. He's been with the Ephesian elders, and he starts with an emotional goodbye, and gets on a ship. There's multiple stops along the way, the most significant of which was seven, a seven day stop and tire while the ship was unloading. He was able to locate some disciples in Tyre. And through the Spirit, they told Paul of the danger that would be awaiting him in Jerusalem. But he continued on his journey anyway. And as he was leaving, I thought it was interesting that they all just whole families came down to the beach, and to the waterside, and had a time of prayer together. They continued traveling and then he ended up in sesor Rio where he stayed with Philip who's an evangelist and was one of the seven deacons who's given a role caring for the poor in the churches of Jerusalem. And Philip had four unmarried daughters, who were prof who had to give to prophecy. And while he was there, a prophet came and prophesied that Paul was going to be arrested and turned over to the Gentiles if he continued on to Jerusalem. But of course, he continued on anyway. They pled with him not to go but he was steadfast in his willingness to be arrested and even killed if it was in the name of Jesus. After Paul and those traveling with him arrived in Jerusalem, there was a meeting with the elders there. And he told them all about what God had done on his travels and they glorified God. However, they also warned him that there were those believing Jews who were being taught that Paul was teaching Jews to abandon the law of Moses and recommended that he paid for and participate in the ceremony with four men to show that those rumors were untrue. Paul agrees to do it. But when some of the Jews from Asia saw Paul at the temple, they gathered a crowd and accused Paul of bringing Gentiles into the temple. They dragged him from the temple and attacked him, and they were trying to kill him. So local soldiers and Centurions heard the commotion. And they arrived and stopped the beating. And they couldn't really figure out what was going on. So they decided just to take Paul away. But he stopped them at some point as they were going up the stairs and asked to speak to the crowd, and he got the crowds attention, and they quieted down and started to listen.

Kate Boyd:

Yeah, it's almost like a lot is happening. But also not much is happening. It's sort of like a it's an interesting chapter. Yeah. So yeah, let's start with his journey to Jerusalem. So before he arrives, he's hopping a lot of ships. And he's meeting with Phillip and his daughters and those folks. And getting a prophecy. DREW What sort of jumped out at you and this little bit here?

Drew Dixon:

Yeah, I mean, there's, there's so much going on. I think that one of the the most interesting parts of this whole part of the chapter is the activity of the Holy Spirit. And I mean, it's, it's all over the place, there are people pleading with Paul through the Spirit, there is these young women who are prophets, with have this gift of the Spirit. There is another prophet who comes in prophesize, and says, Thus says the Spirit, just on and on it goes, the spirit is everywhere, left and right. And it seems like the spirit is saying a lot of different things. And so I think that was one of the sort of tensions that I noticed within the beginning part of this chapter. That just fascinating.

Kate Boyd:

Yeah, one thing I love about X, and this has come up on a lot of episodes, because the Holy Spirit is so prominent, he's essentially another character, right? Like he's in pretty much every chapter of the book. And it is interesting, because I, I wonder, too, because on that point, like, it feels like you it feels contradictory, but part of me wonders, you know, Paul knows that he's supposed to go to Jerusalem, he's headed that way. The Spirit sort of directed him there. And these people are then prophesying, you know, the bad things that are going to happen. But I wonder then, if that's sort of where the spirits influence ends, and like, in their humanity, they're like, so don't go we want you alive. Yeah, I sort of wonder like, where the tension is, like you said there between? Is that just their reaction to what the Spirit has said? Is that the spirit itself? Um, but if so that feels contradictory. And Paul's like, No, I'm doing it anyway. Yeah. Kristin, what do you think?

Kristin Garrett:

Yeah, I think when I was younger, that was always one of those really confusing things to me in the book of Acts where the Spirit tells him to do one thing. And then it seems that the spirit is telling other people to tell him to do something differently. And those warnings like, Please don't go. And but I think, now, over time, just feeling like what it is, is that the spirit is preparing Paul for what he's going to face. He's preparing the people to understand what Paul is going to face. And I think it's more of their human connection to him to say, we don't want something to happen to you. We don't want you to be arrested, we don't want you to die. We don't want you to suffer. So please don't go. But Paul is clearly called by the Spirit to go to Jerusalem.

Kate Boyd:

And also, as you were explaining kind of occurs to me that it feels a lot like the Jesus narrative to right because there are people there like don't go to Jerusalem, they're angry at you there. And Jesus shows up anyway, or even Jesus prophesying his own, you know, need for the crucifixion or going up to Jerusalem to die and there's saying it, but Paul's like, I'm willing to do that. So I do think and I think between that and some of the other stuff that we'll see in chapter 21, and 22, with the way that they treat him, it, it does feel like a bit of a parallel to the Jesus passion, right? He's going to Jerusalem who's going to go into trial. And it's really interesting, to me how Luke seems to really be advocating for Paul and a lot of ways in Acts, because he does a lot of comparing between Paul and Peter, like, you'll see dual narratives of like, one of them goes to prison, the other one goes to prison, or Mendoza, the other one does this. Um, and so I guess it doesn't surprise me very much that he's also doing that on a level with Jesus to in all of this. Yeah,

Kristin Garrett:

I did think of that, as I was reading through. When Paul was saying, you know, please stop, almost, I could just picture Paul saying, please stop pleading with me not to go Yeah, like, this is what I'm called to, regardless of the outcome. And just that moment with Jesus, when He says, You know, I don't want to do this, but Your will be done. And I'm gonna go do this, because it's what you what I'm supposed to be doing. And so just, I was, I remember thinking of that parallel there to those two situations.

Drew Dixon:

Yeah, I think that's an amazing parallel I something that that I really notice, as we sort of read through x, is that there is this parallel between x and the Gospel of Luke, it kind of makes me think, I mean, I know a lot of people are, you know, big fans of Harry Potter, for example, you know, JK Rowling has a particular style, that she writes, like, every Harry Potter book has the same form, where, you know, you go through the school year, and at the end of the school year, you have this big climax where the mystery is revealed. And, you know, the everything. I mean, it's great, I grew up reading it, I love it. But Luke does the same thing. Like the Gospel of Luke builds to this trial, where you know, overnight, Jesus is tried and ultimately crucified, and then resurrected, X, Luke builds to this trial as well, which will be here in the final chapters of the book of Acts. And it is with Paul, but I think in a lot of ways, I've heard it say, you know, technically the book of Acts is the Acts of the Apostles. But I've heard it said that it's more accurately the acts of the Holy Spirit's, as we've already talked about. And, and so it's almost like, the spirit is actually headed to Jerusalem, via Paul, in the same way that Jesus was headed to Jerusalem in the Gospel of Luke. And that's something that I thought was was really interesting. Um, one of the commentaries that I was looking at is a newer one by Willie Jennings, who's just phenomenal. And one of the things that he writes, yeah, one of the things that he writes about it is he says, this is the spirit journey. And we read this text poorly if we read it as the story of a lone man, destined for tribulation. Instead, he says, Here, we encounter the truth of the Spirit's own struggle, and God's own loneliness and humiliation. And so this like tension that we see in this chapter where it seems like sometimes the spirit is saying, Hey, Paul, go to Jerusalem. And other times the spirit is pleading, you know, don't go to Jerusalem. It almost felt to me, like, just like Jesus in Gethsemane is saying, like God, can this cup pass from me? And it ends by saying, Let your will be done. Throughout this part of the chapter, it's like the spirit is is is wrestling with going to Jerusalem via Paul. And at the end of the section of this chapter, in verse 14, it says, once more the Lord's will be done. And it's almost like the Holy Spirit's Gethsemane moment is happening in this passage, that the spirit is on the way to Jerusalem, but wrestling with it. It makes me think of Romans chapter eight, for the spirit is groaning with us. That seems like the spirit is groaning with Paul and with the people, but but destined to go and face the people of God in Jerusalem.

Kate Boyd:

And he does, he makes it to Jerusalem. And he's visiting with James and all the people. And so yeah, what about this meeting with James? And the act like the rumors about Paul Wright that all of the Jews seem to be bringing against him? Yeah, Kristin, what did you think of that?

Kristin Garrett:

Something that I thought was really interesting as I was reading through some different resources was when they said when they were talking about they, the the people had learned about Paul, or they had learned that Paul was doing these things where they were being instructed. It wasn't simply this rumor that was going around. It was almost like that was part of their catechism of what they were learning. Which was kind of a surprisingly new thing to me. I hadn't picked up on that before. But the word that they use there, is, is used for instruction. So it isn't simply that people were kind of picking up on this idea that Paul was abandoning the law of Moses. There were people within the Jewish believers who were instructing as they were instructing them in the scriptures. They were instructing them that Paul had abandoned the law of Moses. And so that just really like kind of, like, hit me that something that we see now we see then is a pattern is this idea that we really have a tendency to work hard to tribal eyes, you know, protect our group identity. And so their group identity was in that law of Moses. And they felt that Paul was a threat to that. And because he was a threat, they had to convince everybody that they had to view Paul a certain way that they had to view Paul as somebody who's coming in and attacking their way of life, or attacking the things that were important to them. And that those things were not optional. They were not what Paul was actually teaching, which was you don't have to be circumcised to get to Jesus. You don't have to follow all the ceremonies to get to Jesus. But they were telling people that he was telling people of other Jews even not to do any of those things, as opposed to saying they're not necessary.

Kate Boyd:

Yeah, I mean, even for the most part, like Paul seems to follow a lot of things. Obviously, he's ministering when junk, Gentiles Gentiles. So that complicates things. Right. But yeah, I mean, he makes very clear over and over that his ministry is to Gentiles. And so I mean, what, five, six chapters back, we all saw the decision that even came out of Jerusalem, that Gentiles don't have to be circumcised. So it does seem like there's this backlash of people who just don't understand that, or they're sort of coming up against it. And I mean, in that same commentary by Willie james Jennings, he talks a lot about, you know, this, like, because of the diaspora, right, they're feeling like they're losing their national identity, especially as they're also becoming Christian. And so they feel this tension, and this anxiety and that sort of like, where they keep rubbing up against all of these, like multiple layers of identities, they don't know how to reckon with all of them and, or how to not lose themselves in the process. And that was a really interesting idea to me, because, obviously, that I, that doesn't occur to me, um, I don't feel very strongly about my national identity, or even I don't have you know, I'm, like, most people, a mixed bag of ethnicities. So, um, it so there's not that sort of, like, same strong sense of that connection of that for me, but the fact that other people, you know, if this is what they've been identified, both religiously and ethnically their entire lives, and that suddenly feels like there's a, a gap or a threat there. And it is, that is an interesting point that it seems like it was sort of being handed down in some sort of official capacity, like, not just this is what we're about, but also these are the people who are wrong, which definitely strikes. It feels kind of familiar.

Kristin Garrett:

Yes, it's very powerful to get a group to coalesce around something that they're against, that they then perceive as a threat, and then you can confuse and control the group in that way. Yeah.

Drew Dixon:

Yeah. I mean, you know, I, you mentioned not having that sort of of national ethnic identity crisis or that sort of thing. And yet, I mean, you know, you have talked quite a lot about creating space for messy middle Christians. And that seems very much like a kind of identity, religious and spiritual identity crisis of like, where do I fit? Like, am I here? Am I there? And, and I kind of see Paul living in the tension of, of here and there, throughout a lot of the exchanges and these couple of chapters. I mean, I'm, I'm really struck by whenever he goes to talk to James and the others in Jerusalem. They are they say to him, you know, hey, there are these things going around about what you're teaching, that, you know, you're, you're this sort of far off person who's talking all kinds of things against our people are our law. And so here's what we want you to do. Can you go through one of these purification rituals, take this vow, and do this sort of thing. And I can so easily imagine, especially in our culture, someone responded that by saying, Hey, I didn't say that. That's not me. I didn't. These are all lies and rumors, you know, and I don't have to do that purification ritual. And yet, Paul sort of humbly says, Alright, I'll join you. I'll join you in this. And it's sort of this, this mark of in Paul's newfound freedom, as a follower of Christ. He doesn't use that to reject the place where he has come from, but to, in freedom, actually embrace it more wholly. And I don't know, I wonder for folks who wrestle with me like myself, in many ways, wrestle with the the sort of spiritual and religious tradition that we've come up in, and at times departed from it at times returned? Are we more free to interact with people? Or are we more reactionary? And I think those are some big questions that that Paul, at least models in this.

Kristin Garrett:

Yeah, I found it really difficult, personally, that Paul went along with that, because it almost felt like, you know, my first reaction was, but Galatians. You know, I'm like, why are you doing this? Because you don't have to do it? Are you going down a slippery slope of modeling, something that is going to lead people down the path of legalism. But I'm certain that there was a reason with his in his conscience, where he felt that it was the right thing to do. And I do actually, I like Drew's explanation of that, it actually helped me feel a little bit better about it.

Kate Boyd:

I mean, part of me, too, is kind of, like I get, I got kind of mad at James. I was like, James knows, you know, any mean, like James knows. And he's, they're celebrating and he knows what Paul was told to do, like, part of they were sent back with the letter to all the places to tell everyone. And so I just didn't like I didn't James, stand up for Paul, you know, in Jerusalem against all these things. He's the head. He's the head honcho there, right. So why Why wasn't that enough? Or did he not do that? Or did he need to? And I do get that, you know, actions speak louder than words. So part of me was like, a little upset about things. Quite generous. Generally. Like, I like, Jim. But I was a little upset with him. But yeah, I do think and I'm not even sure even with Galatians. I'm not even sure that Paul would go so far as to say that you shouldn't practice, you know, under those things. I think people I think it can be interpreted that way. But I also am not sure that that's fully his intent.

Kristin Garrett:

No, I don't think that that's his intent. I just felt like is he I guess, kind of giving in to the narrative that, you know, like, he has to prove something, I guess. Yeah. His words have said something. They're lying about what his words have meant, right? And they're spreading that around. And so now he's stuck in a situation where he does he feel like he has to do it in order to prove it, or that he's okay with, let's do the ceremonies. It's fine to keep doing the ceremonies. We just need to understand that these things are not things that bring us to salvation.

Kate Boyd:

Yeah. And I would say, I mean, I feel like if Paul felt like he needed to stand up, he would have been like I Yeah, based on what I've seen so far and X, he is not shy about making his his point, even if he is like content, right. So I think he was like for the sake of unity and understanding Like, let's, I'm willing to do that. And, and that I appreciate. And I think it's kind of a nice lesson because I feel like sometimes. And I'll also say, my experience of the last few years is, the more confident I am in my convictions, the less I feel like I have to fight for them with other people, you know what I mean? Like I'm willing to give here and there because I know where I am. And I know what I think I'm, you know, is within the bounds of tolerance, you know, right. And so I think there's, there is freedom in not just knowing who you are in Christ, but knowing where you stand on things, AND, OR, and what you're willing to give and not give. And I think, given Paul's many interactions, not just with Jerusalem, but even abroad, with Jews and synagogues, and Gentiles, that he's probably had to shape some of that pretty firmly and pretty quickly in order to do the things that he's done.

Drew Dixon:

Yeah, as we're talking about this, it makes me think that the beginning posture, as we enter into any kind of conflict, should not be to prove ourselves or prove our point. But really, I think what Paul does here, is it the beginning place is one of fellowship and prayer. You know, before we try to just defend ourselves and argue and say, Hey, here's what is true, or at least what I believe is true. Or we're willing to just begin by saying, Hey, I'm with you. Let's pray together. Let's be together. And from there, let's see where things go. And obviously, things go in a difficult direction for Paul here in this chapter. But yeah, but nonetheless, it seems like there's this model of, of beginning with fellowship and prayer, not defensiveness, or arguing or, or proof, proof texting or anything like that.

Kate Boyd:

Yeah. That's good.

Kristin Garrett:

Yeah, that just it kind of made me think about traveling overseas and working with churches overseas, and how when I travel, and I, and I'm with a different church, they might have a different liturgy than I'm used to, or a different style of worship. And I don't stand up and be like, well, I'd like to do it the way I want to do it. You know, I join with them in how they participate in worshiping God.

Kate Boyd:

Yeah, yeah. So yeah, he submits to doing this. He's like, let's go. And things go a little sideways. There's all sorts of all sorts of like weird layers of identity that are happening here, not just like, he gets mistaken for either wrong action or wrong identity and a lot of ways. So as he comes into the temple, more rumors, right about him bringing Gentiles in, and that leads to him. Yeah, leads to a big fuss, a kerfuffle. That leads to his imprisonment. Um, yeah, Drew, what sort of jumped out at you in the arrest? bit here?

Drew Dixon:

Well, I just sort of thought about the irony of what's going on here. You know, Paul has has undertaken this time of purification, this vow, he goes to the temple to complete it right is he is offering his sacrifice paying his his sort of vow fee, whatever the case may be. And it's right in the middle of this act of devotion, that he is kind of surrounded and attacked, and so on. And, again, sticking with what you're talking about earlier, these parallels with Jesus, right? It's, it's right after celebrating Passover. It's in the midst of being in this garden and praying that he is surrounded and attacked and arrested. And so there are these parallels that are happening here. It does seem kind of I don't know that that ironic twist that that occurs.

Kristin Garrett:

Yeah, yeah, that does seem I like that ironic. That he was in the midst of doing you know, participating in this purification ceremony, and that's when they go after him. It was interesting that they pointed out that it was Jews from Asia. So I'm assuming at that point that maybe they had traveled there, as opposed to living there. I'm not sure if it doesn't give a whole lot of other details than that. And so Knowing whether or not they were believers or not there, perhaps they had been in Asia, and had seen Paul's ministry in Asia. And if you go back to earlier and acts, you can see him in the synagogues in different places there and, and Jews standing against what he was teaching, and being angry about what he was teaching. And so if those rumors followed him, from Asia, to the believers that were there, and then of course, they see him walking around with somebody who's Greek, and they just make that leap. You know, well, if he's been walking around with him, he must have brought him into the temple. And now he's defiled it. And so then they get everybody all worked up. But I like the, the what the word they use for stirred up it means basically to confuse like, they confused everybody about what was actually happening. And then everybody gets all into this big worked up state where people don't really know exactly what's going wrong, but we are sure that Paul did something bad.

Kate Boyd:

Yeah. It is interesting. Like, it's all just sort of it's very mob mentality, right? Like, we saw that a lot whenever we went through the Gospel of Mark last season. And some of that in Acts as well, though, I would say probably not quite to the same extent. But you're seeing sort of like you're saying, there's like this mob, and they're angry, and they're confused, and they don't know what's going on. So they're like, well, let's just let's just put him in jail, like get him out of here. And it's sort of like the momentum quickly builds, which again, like we were saying before, mirrors Jesus. But I also noticed that they ordered him to be bound into chains, which is similar to one of Peters, imprisonments, a few chapters back. And so there's a lot of layer edge happening here. And then of course, the crowd yelled away with him, which feels strikingly similar to a crucify him call. So yeah, there's so much here at the end, it's all based on nothing that anyone has actually witnessed. Which is fascinating. Because at least with Jesus, they've at least seen him teaching or they've heard things like people sort of been around, but this they're just totally making wild leaps. And jumping to conclusions. And it just sort of, yeah, like they, they pounced. So interesting.

Kristin Garrett:

Yeah, it is, it's like, so Paul is teaching something that they don't like, and they find is a threat to their way of life or their way of doing their faith. And then they don't actually bring any evidence to this group of people. It's not like this happened. It's more of a what if this happened, and because Paul is teaching this, this must have been what happened. And so they're not presenting any information. Really, what they're doing is they're just confusing people. And then getting them into this state, which also

Kate Boyd:

feels a bit like in Mark, when they were talking about how they couldn't even find two witnesses who agreed on the same thing as trial. You know, there's a lot of that same confusion. Yeah.

Drew Dixon:

Something else that stands out to me from from this section is kind of the emphasis on on justice and peace versus false justice and false peace. You know, it, there's this this great, sort of, you know, chaos going on in the in the temple. The Romans see it going on. And so they go there, and what do they do? Well, they grab Paul, and they lock up, Paul. Right? Who is the one being? No, not the one. Right, right. And, and one of the things that one of the commentaries that I was reading, it says the Roman soldiers were not in Jerusalem to ensure that justice was carried out. Rather, the soldiers were there to keep the Roman peace. You know, the sort of Pax Romana that maybe we've learned about in history class, which does not have to do with making sure that the right thing happens, which is the definition of justice. They just want to keep things sort of at bay. sort of maintain what what's going on. Again, Jennings has some incredible, insightful stuff to say about this. He he says this is chaos, and the Empire knows how to handle chaos with the chaos of military force. So Paul is simply an object of offense that must be removed from the crowd. And so we don't want to discipline the ones who are causing trouble. We just want to find out what are they reacting to? And let's detain that. And so they do that. And and it just makes me think about how do we respond to chaos? And how do we respond to conflict? You know, is it through the means of power and sort of enforcing something upon something else? Is it a false kind of peace? Maybe we just ignore it, or, or run away from it? But I don't know, do we pursue true peace and true justice? Or is it kind of this false peace that maintains the status quo? False justice, that doesn't really get to the end of what is right, but just kind of makes things Okay, again? And I mean, yeah, those are, those are big questions to consider, like,

Kate Boyd:

how deep do you want it to go? Right? Do you just want it to be that surface level? It seems like everything's okay. Or are we? Are we are we doing symptoms? Are we doing, you know, diseases, right? Gotta think about. And so then Paul gets up to defend themselves. And the guy's like, you're not the Egyptian. So he's, like, totally compete. Like, he's, you're not the Egyptian that had a revolt? And he's like, No, who said I was, you know, I was just accused of bringing Gentile what's happening. So yeah, another sort of level of mistaken identity, or rumor or whatever, in this, you know, and then he like, gets up and speaks in different languages, and it's just blowing everyone's laughing. Alright, chapter 22. And through, will you recap that for us?

Drew Dixon:

Yeah, definitely. So, chapter 21, ends right after this riots has occurred, and the Romans have grabbed Paul and, and he kind of begins to speak a little bit to them, about about himself, and, and that sort of thing. And 22 begins, where he says, Hey, can I talk to the crowd? Can I talk to the crowd? And they say, okay, sure, you can, you can go talk to the crowd. And so 22, most of chapter 22 is Paul's address to this crowd of people. And so, you know, he begins, brothers and fathers listen to the defense that I now make before you, and goes on to basically describe himself and tell his own story. And so he tells a little bit of his own background, and where he comes from, kind of re emphasizing his own Jewish heritage. And, you know, Hey, guys, I'm one of you, is what he seems to be saying. He goes on to tell the story of his conversion, which this is the second of three times we encounter the story in the book of Acts, you know, we originally read it in chapter nine. Whenever the narrator, Luke tells the story about Paul encountering Jesus on the road. And then here, Paul Reed tells that story. And then again, later on in chapter 26, he'll tell it again. And so it's interesting to see the way that Paul keeps coming back to this crucial moment in his life, and saying, Hey, here's what happened. Here's, here's this moment in my life, so retells the story of his conversion of you know, if that's what you want to call it, and I'm talking to the people about his encounter with Jesus, the encounter with an N is, and so on. And then he gets to this moment where he says, you know, after all of this, I ended up being sent Jesus sent me to go to the Gentiles and verse 21, go for I will send you far away to the Gentiles. And the people are all listening. But the moment that he says that Gentiles, they erupt again, into just sort of a wave with him once more. And so, you know, this, this kind of all goes on the Romans are like, Alright, enough of this. And they cart Paul away and are about to start interrogating him with flogging. That's how they often interrogated people. And right before that happens, Paul just asks this question, Hey, is it legal for you to flog a Roman citizen? And that kind of leads to another one of these identity moments that we've been talking about? In the moment that they discover that Paul, in fact, is a Roman citizen, they all sort of back away from him that say, oh, you know, we can't we can't go that route. And then at the very end of Chapter 22 Paul is about to have another moment of address where they, you know, they can't interrogate in the way they wanted to. So instead they bring him over to the Sanhedrin. And he is going to address them. And that's we're 23 picks up.

Kate Boyd:

Yes. Suspense. We have suspense before we this next address.

Drew Dixon:

That's, that's the next episode.

Kate Boyd:

Yeah, it's, it is interesting, because I do feel like, basically, what we have been talking about between the two chapters is, who the heck is Paul? And what is he about, you know, and at this point, we've seen a lot of that play out, you know, in the stories and in his missionary journeys, and all those things. But it's sort of like becoming, maybe not the climax, but it's certainly a turning point in the story, where he's laying it all out on the table. And he's like, I am all of these things, you know. And so it's really interesting to see the layers and now he even constructs this argument in order to appeal and talk to the audience in, in which he's in front of, you know. So yeah, he starts with his Jewish heritage, his pedigree. And, yeah, I mean, that seems pretty impressive. What do you think are some?

Kristin Garrett:

Yeah, I think that it's interesting. When you watch Paul interact with people, how he is able to adjust what he's communicating for his audience, what language he's speaking for his audience. And so when he was speaking to the commander, he wasn't speaking Aramaic. But when he was speaking to the people, he was when he's speaking to the Jews, he was. And he started out by saying, Hey, this is who I am. I am a Jew, let me convince you that I really am a Jew, who has been trained and brought up in the traditions that we hold. So just that you know, how he switches languages and knows what to say, to connect with other people from different backgrounds.

Kate Boyd:

Yeah, he's really impressive that way. I mean, he does that. And he uses every opportunity. I mean, if you look throughout acts, he sees a random statue, or someone calls him a god, and someone does this or that. And he always is able to turn that somehow into, into the message that he's meant to communicate, but he's always very sensitive to the people that he's talking to. And I think that's really interesting for someone who's clearly been accused of not being sensitive to any of those. Yeah, Drew between this and then he moves into his conversion. What sort of popped out of you?

Drew Dixon:

Yeah, well, um, you know, Kristen just mentioned this, but But I'm so interested in even just the the ways that he is talking about this, he, whenever he is talking to the Romans, he speaks and they go, Oh, you're speaking in Greek. You know, and that's like this moment. And then in 22, he begins to address them in Aramaic or Hebrew. And it says, they become even more quiet. And so the language that he's using, even the way he describes himself is a little bit different. When he talks to the Romans, he says, I'm a Jew, I'm from Tarsus, this, you know, I'm a citizen of this important city, or literally, not a small city. And then Bernie's talking to them, he says, I'm a Jew, I am born in Tarsus, but I was brought up in this city, under the feet of Gamaliel. And that that's something that I just really wanted to highlight, as I was reading, is that that phrase, I was brought up in the city at the feet of Gamaliel. And this phrase, at the feet of is this, you know, term for studying or learning, but it occurs one other time, at least, in the writings of Luke, back in Luke chapter 10, where his writing about Mary who is sitting at the feet of Jesus, which does not mean that Mary is sort of, you know, sitting at his feet looking up sort of, you know, wide eyed Jesus, it means she's a student of Jesus. And I think some of the the conflict that happens in that scene between Mary and Martha is not primarily because Mary is not helping Martha but because Mary has called crossed over into this space where mostly men were. And I just think it's a powerful moment for hate. Just like Paul was sitting at the feet of Gamaliel studying. So Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus studying, which, you know, Paul goes on to be a teacher, under Gamaliel, you know, of the law, Mary also goes on to be a teacher, and one of the first people to proclaim who Jesus is. And so I just think this is, I don't know, just interesting, rabbit trail, so to speak, that, um, highlights what's going on here. And so he's, he's a student of Gamaliel. Um, and he highlights this. And a couple of things that I looked at as we talk about this, like tension of his identity, his his Jewish identity, and his Roman identity. And I was reading a little bit more about what that education system was like, and how. So the the sort of Jewish education system had a few different tiers to it. One of them just began with home instruction, you know, you would learn about things at home, as you would read Scripture and that sort of thing. But then there actually were in the first century primary and secondary school. So sort of, you know, elementary and middle school is, we might think about it. In primary school, from age six to 10, you're learning Torah, and you're really learning and studying the language, you're learning and studying the content of it. And then if you sort of graduate from there to secondary school, age 10, to 13, and you begin to learn the teachings about it, the sort of, not just what does it say, but what does it mean. And then if you kind of continue beyond that, you would go into apprenticeship, which seems to be what's described here, studying at the feet of Gamaliel was sort of like a kind of apprenticeship. And so Paul is, is, is putting all of this out there. As kind of this proof of hey, I, I've learned just like all of you. I studied as a kid, I went on to learn, I studied under Gamaliel, who's this well known teacher of the time, he appeared earlier in the book of Acts and as a prominent, yeah, this prominent member of the society, this respected teacher, and it's a way of saying, Hey, I'm, I'm legitimate here, you can trust me, you can listen to me. A contemporary example that I was thinking about this was last year I read the book. I'm actually totally blanking on the liturgy of politics. I think it is by Caitlin chef, who I think you've talked to last year on your podcast, but she begins her book by saying, Hey, I studied at Liberty University, right? Like, I know, this sort of cultural landscape. And I'm writing to you as someone who grew up in that or at least studied in that. And and now I have kind of a different perspective that I want to share. And that seems to be what Paul is doing here. I grew up in this, I studied this, but but there's more, let me tell you, the more that there is. And ultimately, that leads him to that conversion story. And as we sort of turn over to the conversion story, again, I I just love this. Jennings Willie Jennings commentary. He says, How do we speak? When surrounded by rumors and false words by accusation and complaint? How do we speak dogged by a history of our own doing of hateful speech and action? The only way forward for Christians and for Christianity is testimony. Paul will offer a witness that will also be the self witness of Jesus. And so that's where he goes, is. Let me tell you my story. More than that, let me tell you Jesus story. And I think that's so compelling.

Kate Boyd:

Yeah, it really is. Um, Kristin. What? What did you see in the conversion part of his speech?

Kristin Garrett:

I just love Paul's conversion story. It's it's so shocking. And it's just so compelling. And I always love that story because it's one of those stories where You know, just on a personal level, when you're ministering to people talking to people about who Jesus is that they, and they feel like, and I'm sure that we've all experienced that people who think, well, I've done too many bad things I've done, I'm just too messed up. There's just no way that my life can be redeemed at all. And you can go back to and I think even when Paul is telling the story, you can go back to put Jesus saved Paul, you know, this is who I am, these are all these horrible things I did. I like, killed people. And I convinced other people to kill people for following Jesus. But yet, he not only like, came into my life, and changed everything. He sent me on a path to be essentially his voice to the churches, in a lot of ways, and writing all those letters and guiding the churches. And so I just that that conversion story is just always very powerful.

Kate Boyd:

Yeah, it is a really powerful story. And it makes me wonder if anything less than that would have done it for Paul, you know, like, he literally had to be stopped in his tracks, and blinded. And all of these things. And what's also interesting to me that a commentary pointed out is that he also talks about in and is, so he was taken then to a Jewish person in Damascus. And and so even in his conversion, he's saying, I was still with very devout, real Jewish people, as a Christian. And so these things are coming together, they're not exclusive, you know, he's trying to connect those dots for them even still, you know, even though they clearly weren't happy about him. You know, I mean, we saw what happened when he tried to come back into Jerusalem. And he mentioned that here, returning and, and essentially being like having to leave because people are so upset, even though people within the church vouched for him. Good old Barnabus so interesting that like, he just doesn't seem, oh, no, there's something about it, that they just can't seem to trust Him, even though he's trying to give them every opportunity. And that's just a really hard place to be. But then. But Jesus shows up to him again. And he's like, that's okay, I've got something else for you, which is kind of nice, too, because it's like, you sort of want, you know, to be accepted and be in this place, but at the same time, sometimes you're being all that's happening. So you can push be pushed to a different spot for people who also need you. And I think that was really interesting to me, because we have not necessarily seen that bit of his story. He's added a few details, right? Yeah. So we've we've never saw his, you know, sort of official commissioning from Jesus. Which, you know, which again, would probably even be the basis of his apostleship is that he had firsthand exposure to Jesus, because that's sort of what apostles were. And so that's, even though it's like much smaller than what everybody else all the other apostles would have been. It is very direct and very specific. And also, I would very much appreciate Jesus telling me what to do in such a direct and specific way.

Kristin Garrett:

That'd be very nice. And scary. At the same time. Yeah.

Kate Boyd:

I mean, terrifying, short, but also helpful.

Kristin Garrett:

Yes, I would love that. It is interesting how Paul name drops. You named John, where he lived, where he grew up, who he studied under, who participated in his whole conversion story, to try and help people connect with him. And to help give what he is saying some legitimacy. You know, it's not just me. It's not just me. I'm not just out here doing my own thing, like all the people are involved.

Drew Dixon:

Yeah, yeah. And I mean, that that makes me think of the reality that as as we tell our own stories, there are other names, you know, involved who are the people that have influenced us that have led us and a month that, you know, Jesus is at the center. And it's something that I love about the way that Paul tells the story is that Jesus is the one who is acting all throughout it. Jesus is the one who interrupts Paul in his tracks. Jesus is the one who has sent and n is to go speak to and commission. Paul, Jesus is the one who says to Paul, Hey, get out of Jerusalem. And that Jesus is the one who says, go to the Gentiles. It's it's constantly Jesus who is doing all of this. And yet, Paul is led to and and is by others. It's an and is who speaks to Paul, so on and so forth. And so Jesus is the one at work through all of these other people. And and I think that there's this invitation as we consider our own stories, that there are people who touch our lives who, who move us and shape us and form us. But can we see Jesus within those people? Can we see Jesus as the active agent in our life through the people that we've been around?

Kate Boyd:

Yeah, we're even considering ourselves in that light, right? Like that whatever little thing. I mean, sometimes we, I think, though, there is a lot of miraculous stuff happening, right, like people go are told to like, go find Paul, and they leave him and like, there's a lot of stuff happening. But you know, that there is also human agency involved in here is very interesting, even in this even goes back to 21, when we're talking about, you know, Paul, and all these people telling him not to go because of what Spirit revealed to them. You know, in his agency, he's like, No, but also the spirit has told me to go, so I'm going. And so there's like, all these points of decision at which somebody could have done something differently. But they participated anyway, you know, and I think that's such a good word, invitation. That's such a good invitation for all of us, I think.

Drew Dixon:

That's one of my favorite things that I get to do in my work, as in spiritual direction is, is getting to sit with people and just ask that question. So where is God in the midst of this? And really enter into that, as we look at experiences and stories? I mean, I think that's the, one of the crucial questions for anyone who's following Jesus is, you know, as I consider life, where is God in the midst of this? How can I tell this story?

Kate Boyd:

Yeah. So as we come into the last little bit of the chapter, we see the Romans not knowing what to do with them once the crowd like, get out, get him out of here, don't want to talk to him anymore, because that's just how offensive being a Gentile and even daring to include them in anything. Which on one hand, I find interesting, because there are ways for people to become part of the Jewish community as Gentiles. So it's interesting to me that him proactively doing something like that would feel would be to I don't know, that was a weird dynamic to me. And yeah, but then the Centurion was like, well, we'll put him in with, y'all got to figure out your charges, because I can't I can't just hold a Roman citizen for no reason. Like, we just have to y'all have to get your story straight.

Kristin Garrett:

Yeah, I thought, well, just jumping back to the first part of what you said about the Gentile thing. I feel like I could spend hours just on verse 22, because it's like he's telling his story, and everybody is listening. And then he says Gentiles, and then the crowd becomes completely unhinged. Yeah, at that point, you know. And so the as to what you were saying about while there is a way for Gentiles to become part of Israel, like we can see that in the Old Testament, there's ways that that happens, that they can be welcomed in to that nationality and that way of life, but that requires them to change essentially their own identity. Right. And in this case, they're not being required to change. I mean, yes, everybody when they come to Jesus is changing their identity to being a follower of Jesus, but they're not required to change their national identity. They're not required to change different cultural distinctives, as long as they're in line with scripture, they're not, you know, they're not required to conform to something out there that some group says you have to be necessarily. And so it's interesting to me how completely like I said, unhinge, they became as soon as that word came out.

Kate Boyd:

Well, I think when you couple that with the rumor that he's telling people, they don't have to live under the law at all, you know, which would be pretty true for Gentiles specifically. So I guess he is sort of changing up if, if all of that is in the background, then you can kind of I can kind of see how it's become a flashpoint for them. But you're right. It's a big reaction. Yeah.

Kristin Garrett:

Yeah, they're like wiping from the face of the earth. What? That seems a little bit of an overreaction and kind of ridiculous. And it's, but it is actually very common to, for us to be tribal in that way. It's, it's, I've found over the last few years, just in studying a lot of that stuff related to identity and neurology and culture. That the things that I used to look at the Bible and say, how could they react that way? That's certainly an overreaction. And then realizing, oh, my gosh, we're still doing that. We're still reacting that way. So

Drew Dixon:

yeah. Makes me wonder what are what are the words that make us become unhinged? There, they're certainly are.

Kate Boyd:

Oh, yeah. Yeah, no, I can definitely trace back like the things that every time they're sort of spoken about or spoken in a certain way. I'm like, Okay, you crossed the line, like, No, you know, get get like, calm ask you questions, Kate anymore, you get You insulted me, and we're moving off. So there are definitely those things where, you know, I think, but I do think it comes back to, at least for me, those are things related to specific insecurities. And I think if we go back to sort of this, like, the national identity thing, right, that they're feeling is under threat. Like, that could certainly be I mean, they're already, you know, not even the masters of their own domain right here in Jerusalem. They're under Roman rule. And so there's a lot at stake for them and all this.

Drew Dixon:

Yeah. Even the fact that there is a Roman showing up to settle the dispute that's happening in the temple, isn't it? Yeah. And credibly, you know, this mark against their dignity as a people.

Kate Boyd:

Right, which sort of feels like the thing that they should be mad about. Right, except that he's on their side. So they're like, well, we'll let him handle it.

Drew Dixon:

Yeah. That, you know, that.

Kate Boyd:

Yeah, I was just gonna say, then Paul claims his citizenship is in Rome. And, and then the Roman comes to a screeching halt.

Drew Dixon:

Yeah, something interesting that I read about that, um, you know, this was another one of those sort of things that I dug into a little bit. I was really interested in these kind of just the identity. That is the theme we've talked about a lot so far. You know, as I was looking at chapter 22, at the beginning of chapter 22, there's this emphasis in Paul's Jewish identity, right, he gives that long list of, hey, I'm a Jew, this is where I come from. And at the end of chapter 22, there's more of an emphasis in Paul's Roman identity, as he's interacting with the Roman officials. And in some ways, the, that this chapter kind of, is a small picture of what all of the book have access, right? It begins in Jerusalem, and moves out to the ends of the earth. This chapter begins with Paul as a Jew, and moves out to him as this global citizen. And so I mean, I think that's just really interesting in and of itself. But I was curious to learn more about what's going on here with the citizenship question. And one of the kind of articles that I looked at, talked about how citizenship came with certain privileges, and protections. It could be attained by birth or freedom or military or politics when John Stott said You could get it through right or reward birth or bribe the sort of the way of getting Roman citizenship. And, you know, the the way that that punishment occurred within Roman law and stuff is that penalty is expended depended less on the crime committed, and more on the person who had potentially committed them. And so it's not what you did, it's who you are. If you're a citizen, then you get a much, you know, lower crime. If you're not a citizen, then then we're gonna, you know, really give it to you. And so it really makes a difference whether or not you're a citizen. But what is so curious is how Paul doesn't bring that up immediately. Right? He doesn't immediately say, Hey, I'm a citizen. In fact, he never says, I'm a citizen. He instead says, This was another commentary that I read, Paul does not cry out, I am Roman. Rather, he poses a hypothetical question. You know, as they're about to begin examining him via torture, he just says, Hey, is it legal for you to do that to Roman citizen? That's all that is. He asks them a question. And so this commentary said, What does this tell us about Paul, the fact that he never insists on his own identity as a citizen, but rather kind of just asks this question, and it says, Paul, will not so stridently insist upon his Roman rights as to kind of remove or under, under take away his religious commitment. And then second, Paul is still prepared to suffer or even to die. And so I think that that what I noticed here is that Paul, is not going around insisting on his rights as a Roman. Instead, he is far more concerned with the mission of the gospel. That, that his sort of priorities, our religious identity, the integrity of his message is favorable. The favorable hearing of his audience, and the the face of the converts, none of these things should be compromised is what one of the commentary said, for personal dignity, for comfort or for safety. Christian mission is first and Roman citizenship is second. And that seems to be really clear, and and Paul's interaction here. Yeah, and I just think that challenges us, again, as I consider the sort of contemporary moment that we're living in, I have seen a lot of people, a lot of Christians insist upon their rights as citizens, to whatever end they they want that to be on. And I think Paul is an incredible model that our faith is not about insisting on our rights, but giving up our rights. And Paul only mentions this, really, whenever it's going to be a harm to the one who is punishing him. It's almost as though he says, Hey, is it legal for you to do that to a Roman citizen? Because if you do that, to me, you're going to be punished. It's almost like Paul is trained to protect the one who is about to interrogate him, rather than himself.

Kate Boyd:

Yeah. That's interesting. I hadn't thought about it that way.

Kristin Garrett:

Yeah, I hadn't thought about it that way. Like when I was looking at that, I was thinking about a bit about how Paul was very willing to be beaten, or persecuted for talking about Jesus. But he wasn't masochistic is kind of what came to mind when I read that like, but I hadn't thought about what you just said that in the sense that he was by telling the person who was about to do so. He was also protecting them. Because once it was found that he was a Roman citizen. If he had moved forward, he would have been in big trouble.

Kate Boyd:

Yeah, yeah. All the way up the chain of custody. So that makes a lot of sense. And yeah, so even in claiming his citizenship, he's still on mission to Gentile.

Drew Dixon:

Yeah. Yeah. Like he's, he is out to protect the one who's interrogating him. Yeah, when he does that.

Kate Boyd:

Anyway, else from chapter 22 before we move into our takeaways All right, Kristen, do you have your knee thought and your we thought

Kristin Garrett:

it's kind of evolved as we've been going through it just thinking about what Yeah. Yeah. Because as I read it through the first time when you sent it, I was like, Oh, well, you know, he's traveling, traveling, traveling, traveling, oh, yeah, all these people are mad at him. And he shares his testimony. And everybody gets mad at him, you know, this rub of the Gentiles thing. But there was just as I went through it more and more, and even during our conversation, there's just so much there. But I, I was just thinking about, I think the thing that probably really hit me, as we were talking that currently throughout the meeting that I had going before, is how we talked about how Paul adjusted, what he was saying, how he was speaking, the information he brought in to connect with people. And how I personally find that much more difficult. Because I'm kind of like a, you know, this is what it says, and that's what it is, and why can't we just look at it and be like, Okay, this is reality. And this is truth. And this is, you know, but taking the time to find that connection with somebody else, what we have in common, how we can relate to each other, in in sharing with them, or trying to communicate something with them. So that I think that's the big meaty thing. The we thing is based, both in what we see in these chapters, plus a lot of what's been going on in the local churches, in our experiences that we've had ministering in churches in the past dozen years or so, which has to do with identity. And that primary identity being in Christ, and if we find ourselves triggered, like say, this group was triggered by the word Gentile, you know, when we find ourselves triggered, we need to have the humility to understand that we might be participating in a type of groupthink that's then either unbiblical or exclusionary, or both. And we have to really work hard. It's not something that we can just say, oh, yeah, everybody is equal in the eyes of Jesus. We can't just say it. Yeah, you know, and we can't just try and help people. We have to really work, work, work, work, work together as a group, you can't do it just by yourself, we have to work to make the church view people regardless of where they're from, what their background is, the color of their skin, their education level, whether or not they have disabilities, as equal in the body of Christ with equal access to Jesus with equality of spiritual giftedness of participation within the body of Christ, and we just have to adjust is so normal for us to react rather than work towards that?

Kate Boyd:

Yeah. Yeah. So Drew, how about you?

Drew Dixon:

Yeah, that's good. I love the just that challenge, again, is that that question of what are the things that that, you know, we react to the things that set us off? I think the the flip side of that, as far as think the the me question, the me thought is that Paul did say that word Gentiles that set them off. And it makes me wonder, are there things that I am not saying, in order to sort of keep peace? You know, Paul could have stopped his story just a little bit earlier, and they wouldn't have blown up Adam, but it wouldn't have been the story. It would have been just short of that. And so I think for me, I'm wondering, are there things that I withhold the things that I don't say? Because I know someone's gonna get set off by it? And I don't mean the things that are not kind or are, you know, the things that you shouldn't say? I mean, right, the thing that it would be right to say this, but I don't want to push people's buttons at And I think that's a challenge for me personally, you know, one of the personality type things that that I identify with is Peacemaker. And so that means I want to avoid conflict if at all possible. But what kind of holy conflict might I be called into? Whether that's, you know, personally in relationships, or in my work as a minister at a church are there times that I'm called to offer a challenging word, to my community, that's hard for me to do. So I think that's a just a Me challenge. Um, as I think of the, we thought, I just look at this bigger picture of, of all the different groups that are at work in the midst of these two chapters. And then where Paul is in the midst of it, you know, the, the, there's the people at the beginning of chapter 21, who are saying, you know, don't go or do this or don't do that. There's the sort of mob of people in the temple, who are, you know, rioting against Paul. And then there's the Roman people who are, you know, trying to sort of just detain Paul and get to the bottom of things. And nowhere in any of that is their space to listen. You know, the, the people are always reacting to whatever it is that they are doing, and there's not very much space to listen. And so the we thought is, are we cultivating listening spaces? Are there opportunities within our communities to share and listen to one another stories? Just like Paul shares his story here? Are we only ever trying to communicate a message? Or are we listening to each other? And how can we find and create more spaces like that? That's, that's something that that I think that the church can grow quite a bit. And there is there is a lot for the church to communicate. But the church would do well, to learn how to listen as well.

Kate Boyd:

Yeah, I think there's, gosh, there's so much. So a lot like what you two are saying I, what keeps coming up for me is I mean, I think what's so interesting is how we see Pete Paul operate in the sense of like, he is willing to give up his safety to go to a place that's unsafe, he's willing to, you know, save face or create, you know, do work to look extra Jewish, right, so that people will stop doing things. But also he's not, and he's not willing to compromise on his mission and what he's there to do. So it is sort of like this weird back and forth. And how do you know where the line is? That's what I wrote down, like, what will I give up for unity? But what do I say for the sake of mission? Like, how do you sort of like what you were talking about? DREW? Like, where do we find ourselves? Um, because I think there are sort of, right, the two camps the like, don't say anything, let's just all get along people. And then there's people like, well, I'm going to call out everything and everyone because it all needs to be this and that, and, you know, and so I think they're both are fear reactions, right? Because there's like a fear and an anger their

Drew Dixon:

fight or flight. Yeah, yes. But

Kate Boyd:

one thing acts has shown us over and over is the way that the community works through those things together. And, um, you know, like, when we even see back in chapter 15, and they're trying to figure out what to do with Gentiles and circumcision. Like, they sit down and they listen to all the stories and they figure it out together, instead of like, either pasting over it or just yelling at each other and blowing up over everything. But there is sort of like the line like, which is going to be different for every person in every situation. And that's part of what drives me crazy about it, right, is that there is no like one simple thing. But, but I think this is where we go back to 21. And the Holy Spirit is talking right? We have to like, let that be the discerning piece for us. Um, you know, if the Holy Spirit is acting, and if the Holy Spirit is moving, and we're doing that, then whether all of those things that we do will be for the sake of unity and for the sake of, you know, the mission and, but they'll do them right in love and in those ways that continue those things. So I think even the hard stuff like, yeah, I, my mission is to Gentiles, and Jesus told me to do that specifically, you know, is a big deal. And just, yeah, living in that tension is really hard. And so being I guess then application point to sort of take this windy thought to a place is to be aware of the Spirit and, and the leading right so that I know in the moment, what is the holy way forward, you know, whether that's conflict or calming that you need to sort of like know, and be prepared and be willing to do that. But to do that in a way that there is. Yeah, that at least my heart can be right. And if, because I can't control the reactions of other people. And I think that's another thing I struggled with. But I digress. Um, yeah. And then I think the last thing is, for the we thought it, maybe it sort of goes back to even this same sort of idea, but the way that they're looking, they're proactively looking for ways to stand up for each other. Right? They do this in Jerusalem for Paul, and when they're like, people are saying this about you. So how about you do this, and we'll and this, I think, is a good salute. Like they're trying to see the best enough hold each other. And even, you know, Phillip and his daughters who were like, No, you're gonna die. Don't do that, you know, and he's like, it's okay. But they're all sort of like looking out and looking for the best in each other. And even to that last point in Paul, when he's looking out for the Roman guy, right. So I think it's sort of how do we look forward at using our words and our actions in order to assume the best to protect one another, but in a way that advances things and doesn't just sort of like, continually bring us in, you know, inward and protect it? We use the word tribal a lot. Today, and so I think there's, yeah, so maybe it's sort of a word and an action. But they're both sort of me. And we all together, it's something I can do for myself, but something certainly that the Holy Spirit works through all of us to find solutions for, or, you know, to make things go kind of nuts sometimes. And, you know, we can't help that. But no matter what, it's still moving forward. So, yeah, that felt very rambley. But I think it's, I think it is hard because it is going to be attention. And I think it requires a lot of devotion to God and devotion to one another, and clarity on our purpose. And if we can sort of get those things straight together, right, and commit to understanding those things first, then, in conflict, we can find a solution and a way forward. And I think, yeah, we need those spaces, to listen and to even find ourselves agreeing on things because I think we agree on so many things that we're just sort of, and not the things we're disagreeing about aren't important, but that if we started from where we agree, we might find our way to more things, more solution. Thank you so much for joining us today. If you enjoyed this discussion, I would love it if you would rate and review the show on your favorite podcast player. You know the drill. This helps more people find the show and learn with us as we talk through Scripture. And then I would love if you came over on social media to talk about what your big takeaways were, what your me thought and we thought were from our discussion, or for when you dove into these chapters. You can find me on Instagram at Kate boyd.co and on Twitter at v Kate Boyd. And don't forget to check the show notes to find and follow today's contributors as well. Thank you for joining us and I'll see you next