Tuesday, July 19, 2011
The Apostle Paul and PTSD? ( choose all) sick, weak mentally ill, insulting, heresy...
Looking back on the naming of this blog – and the upcoming book of the same title – I admit I thought that a good many of the responses Annelie and I would get would fit into those later choises. Dropping the term, “disorder” from the title seemed more non-threatening to some readers, but we actually do prefer “syndrome” and will argue for that as more appropriate.
The descending of wrath upon the heads of those suggesting that Paul could ever be associated with PTSD is rather black humored, of course. He was serving a Savior that was the child of an unmarried woman, born in a stable, worked as a day laborer, and died crucified like a slave between two thieves. This has been strangely flipped, no longer an embarrassment. Feelings for the cross now are expressed as golden, but obviously can also be just costume jewelry displayed by some. It can be thought to be a bit bizarre, however, when a cross is to be seen as a bejeweled museum piece. So it is, I think, that “our Father who art in heaven” has one added facet to His description, that of being a practical joker. How else are the meek going to inherit the earth?
Perhaps it is actually not so strange that a young Saul of Tarsus had a flashback that wiped him away just as he was about to lead a victorious search and capture mission in Damascus. He spent the next years working through that overwhelming condition, finally becoming the greatest theologian and evangelist the Western World has produced. So much for “weak,” etc., if you get laid out and seemingly locked in by PTSD.
Yes, Saul did it and had it done to him, but by the grace of God, that is when his story really gets interesting. A lot of similar stories have gotten interesting since then. They all begin with, “Yes, Sir.”