JANUARY 3, 2011  

JANUARY 3, 2011  


The word, ” Philemon”  popped into  my brain when i asked the speaking, teaching God where we should read today.

Must confess, i had trouble finding this tiny book in my bible.

It’s really not fair to call it a book.  It’s a short letter…a quick email , sort of.

This guy in prison ( Paul) has met up with this other guy ( Onesimus )  who happens to be a runaway slave.  They become good friends and the runaway becomes a follower of God.

The letter written by Paul ( who is in jail because his message and life style are so terrible contradictory to the ruling parties),  is sent  in the hands of the new God follower, Oneismus to be hand delivered to his former “owner”, Philemon.


1. Onesimus , ( the former slave)  has to put his life on the line to go back to Philemon…so he has to take  this new found God pretty seriously.

2. Philemon, (former slave owner)  has to completely break social norms and welcome him as a brother and friend.

So i read this letter and then went to Eugene Peterson’s  version of the same to see how it read.  And i was struck by his commentary introduction. He writes:

Every movement we make in response to God has a ripple effect.

BELIEF    in the ways of God changes our language, what comes out of our mouths

LOVE       being loved affects whether we open ourselves to those who have hurt us, or who are painfully different

HOPE        having clear vision..hope for the future changes how we work.

Eugen Peterson says

” None of these movements, beliefs,  gestures can be confined to the soul.


If they don’t , they are under suspicion of being fantasies at best, hypocrisies at worst. “

And i realize that TRANSFORMATION

happens when  a soul,  a family, a community or society  begins to. ” SPILL OUT”  its’ understanding of beautiful  God.

This spilling eventually reaches a tipping point and history is changed,

None of it confined to the soul…”it all gets worked into local history, eventually into world history”.

People live who otherwise would have died
People write who otherwise would have been illiterate
People are accepted into community who otherwise would have been outcast
Laws pass that set people free.
Those who have much share with those have lack.
Stealers cease stealing, pimps stop pimping, hope for all rises up .
So i ask myself ,   Are my responses to this great God “spilling out’ and  changing my community… stirring it up? making history?

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