For the last year I have been working on a research project. It began with what I have called Net Prophets. The idea was to consolidate lectures that are available for watching on Youtube. As these are voices I would consider modern day prophets and as they can be found on the internet. the logical name for it seemed inevitable to a person who loves puns: Net Prophets.
But then, like Topsy, my project grew. I discovered that there was developing a new approach to the New Testament which centers around the issue of becoming aware of the effect on the early Christians of the Roman Empire. The title of one book says it all: “In the Shadow of the Empire”. Christians had to negotiate the conflict between the demand for loyalty to the Empire and their mission to follow Jesus and his kingdom. I’ve made a bibliography of over 90 books, most written in the 21st century, that focus on this conflict.
Then came the discovery that the Society of Biblical Literature established a seminar to deal with the influence of the banquet meals that were ubiquitous in the Greco-Roman world. This drastically affects how we are to understand gathering, worship, the Eucharist, and social formation of the early church. The title of another book indicates what happened when the Roman Empire context and the role of the banquet structure were brought together: “Subversive Meals”. What this might do to our ideas of personal meditative cracker and grape sip image of the Eucharist has the potential for a radical change in the church.
So my project has morphed into pointing toward resources for the renewal of the church in the twenty-first century. I feel like I’m the barker in a carnival. I’m not the show, but can I convince you to see the shows available? Or do you know any resources you might point me toward?