I’m delighted to resume my blog series “Paul APB.” For those who may have forgotten or may be new to the blog, and thus may not get the pun, in the United States “APB” stands for “All Points Bulletin” and was a common way of referring to an urgent police message, especially when they were looking for someone. APB is also a good abbreviation for “A Polite Bribe,” which is part of the title of Rob Orlando’s great movie about Paul the Apostle. And since both fit the quest for the historical Paul, a while back I started a blog series which I called “Paul APB.” I encourage you to read the first and second post in that series, as well as the round-up of Paul-related blogging I posted while I waited for the go-ahead from Rob to continue the series.
The series is looking ahead to Rob’s next movie, a sequel to Apostle Paul: A Polite Bribe, which will be called Apostle Paul: The Final Verdict. With titles like that, an APB is definitely justified! But before we turn our attention entirely to that movie, please note Rob’s latest movie, The Divine Plan, which is about different figures whom it would, I think, be very interesting to compare to Paul – Pope John Paul II and Ronald Reagan. Yes, I realize that Paul was neither a president of a democracy nor the formal head of a Christian denomination. But asking about how very different figures in the same time and in different times collaborated to bring about social change is itself fascinating. Whether we find the figures to be similar or different is not the point. The point is how much we can learn by comparing the very different ways that people can influence the world. The Divine Plan will be in theaters on November 6th – and if you’re in the vicinity of Butler University, I’ll tell you in a separate post very soon where and how you can get to see it sooner!But for now, here is the next Polite Bribe video, asking what awaited Paul in Jerusalem, and what he may or may not have known prior to traveling there:
As Paul faced the prospect of imprisonment for the ways in which he was considered to be a troublemaker shaking things up and threatening the status quo, we get a glimpse of the side of Paul that I think merits comparison with other sorts of figures who shook things up in human history.
In other places around the internet there have been other posts about Paul, whether directly or indirectly related. For instance, Phil Long writes about Acts 10, which tells a story about Peter, but in relation to a key issue that we associate mainly with Paul:
What I think is fascinating is that Cornelius, as a God-Fearer, might very well have followed the food laws as well as Peter did. Yet there was still a hesitancy on the part of the apostolic mission to cross over the next social barrier and bring the gospel to Gentiles, even a God-Fearing Gentile like Cornelius. These issues will erupt into the first major church controversy by Acts 15 and may stand in the background of Paul’s confrontation with Peter in Galatians 2.
And attention was drawn to Martin Luther King’s imaginative creation of a letter from Paul to American Christians.
Paul, MLK, Peter, Pope John Paul II, Jesus, and Ronald Reagan – each very different, each connected to others on the list but again in very different ways. In an era in which we desperately need positive change and challenges to business as usual, and yet in which past methods and approaches don’t seem quite up to the task, Paul is definitely on the list of figures that deserves a closer look. And another movie!