A Community of Misfits on a Mission

Worship Gathering (Subversive Peace, Week 1)

Romans isn’t a theoretical, systematic theology; it’s a letter written by the apostle Saul/Paul to a specific set of house churches in the city of Rome in the middle of the first century. Far too often, Romans has been taught as if its teaching can be abstracted from time and space. But that’s not how Romans is best understood. Instead, Romans is best understood as a loving, pastoral epistle to real people who were learning how to follow the Way of Jesus in a very specific social setting. In particular, Paul is writing to teach the disciples in Rome how to form a new kind of human community: the body of Christ—a community made up of misfits loved by God and united in the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. These house churches were highly diverse: they were made up of women and men, gentile disciples and Jewish disciples, slaves and socialites. Paul wants to teach them how to live together in peace as a subversive witness to the power of the Gospel in the shadow of the Roman empire. What could be more relevant to misfits like us, in a multiethnic and multicultural congregation, right here in the midst of the American empire?!