My church is going through the Letter to the Romans, which I have been writing about on my church’s website (see blog), so anything to do with Roman history has really got my eye, and in this case, my ear.
I am a member of Audible and they have Channels that lets you listen to snippets of TED, The Great Courses, and other audio. It’s super awesome! So, this morning I was listening to a Great Course on Rome titled “Being a Poor Roman.”
I highly recommend listening to it as it gives context to what Christians were experiencing at the time of Paul’s letter.
I never realized the extent to which caring for the poor was so counter-cultural. I knew Jesus was a radical and a “punk” as my friend Nick Love says, but the idea of social conscience was not something that came into society until the 19th century (according to the professor). Yet, it has always been the responsibility of followers of Christ.
The lecturer is not teaching this class from a Christian perspective; in fact, he never mentions them. He sheds Emperor Nero into an okay light, which if you know your history, he treated followers of Christ horribly. Yet this lecture offers insight into the church makeup that Paul was interacting with and the context in which they were living in.
Ultimately it demonstrates how the act of caring for the poor is in itself a radical, holy concept.