I will refrain from writing about the U2 concert I went to last night.  But golly I should write about that experience.  Woo wee and shoosh.  Ok, I’ll give a wee preview.  It was like going to hear the praises and laments of the Psalms sung in the  most currently contexualized of ways.

But on to my  lecture response.  Last Thursdays’s class focused on the story and practices of the Church in the 2nd and 3rd centuries.  It was great!  We covered a bit of the impact that Constantine had on the Church.  It is wild to think that this movement, that perhaps had around 6 million members in its community before Constantine, had 60 million after Constantine formally  endorsed it as the state religion of choice.  I tend to see that as negative thing.  My Dad was reading a book that seemed to study all the negatives that came to the faith from becoming a state faith.  I think that part of this is that I’m soaked in the perspective of my time and place, so I look at Constantine as the rise of the nominal and the corruption of power.  A system of faith that’s focus is on being in reconciled relationship with the one true Creator God can never be merely a step towards social status, or a means for gaining political favor, or simply a shallow acquiescence to the latest ruler’s whim.  

But, I can imagine that Christians at the time were stoked, some of them anyway, that they did not need to fear death and persecution from their neighbors or the  Empire for their faith.  I bet some rejoiced that their was state funding to erect gathering places of worship in God’s honor.  I bet many people sighed in relief that they could worship God  without fear.   

P.S. I thought it was very interesting that exorcism was a common part of baptism for a period there in the 2nd century.