Friday, June 22, 2012

Acts, Chapters 11 & 12: Dividing the world by the foreskin

Chapter 11

When word that Peter has been making nice when the gentiles gets out, they that were of the circumcision (v. 2) are NOT happy. Peter has been rehearsing his hunger hallucinations story and has it down pat. And then he proceeds to recap the events of the last chapter, which I already did, in my entry, so I'm not going to do it again.

Anyway, his story convinces the other apostles that gentiles are cool now, which is good, because Stephen is still on his anti-heretic rampage. But they also keep getting reports of converts to their new religion. So they send Barnabas out to Antioch to check. Barnabas is full of the holy spirit (read: super-irritating) and wins more converts and decides to go to Tarsus to find Saul/Paul and bring him back to Antioch with him. There they found the first christian church. Lots of people come to visit the church, including the unfortunately-named Agabus, a cheery little rain cloud of a man who predicts a severe famine throughout the Roman world, which happens during Claudius' reign. The Antioch christians send what they can.

Chapter 12

Herod the king, possibly the same one from Matthew, but more probably his grandson or nephew or something, is persecuting the new christians. First, he kills James, brother of John. It would really help if these people would adopt last names or just get different first names. Then, because that makes the Jews happy, and as Bart D. Ehrman has demonstrated, just keeping them from rioting is a daily chore, he arrests Peter. Ever the drama queen, he assigns 16 soldiers to watch him, intending to start the trial after Easter. 

While Peter is in jail, the new christians pray unceasingly.

The night before his trial, Peter is asleep between to soldiers, and also chained to the wall. An angel with a flashlight shows up, boots him in the side, and tells him to come along. The chains magically fall from his wrists. Peter thinks it's all a vision. The angel leads him to the gate, which he opens with an 'Open Sesame!' Then the angel disappears and Peter comes to.

He makes his way to one of the Marys' houses, where a bunch of people are praying. A chick named Rhoda comes to the door. She recognises Peter's voice, but rather than open the gate, she runs screaming her head off into the house. The others don't believe her, thinking it's a Peter-shaped angel. Finally, though, the do go to the door and they all lose their shit when they see who it is. Peter doesn't want to come in, only telling them to tell the other apostles that he's out.

The next day, there is a great kerfluffle as Peter's absence is discovered. Herod is furious that his Easter present to the Jews has been spoiled and has those responsible put to death. Then he heads down to his villa in Ceasarea to pout. While he's there, he picks a fight with Tyre and Sidon. The people send one of his servants as a peace envoy, because he controls their food supply.

One day, Herod sits on his throne all dressed up and makes a speech. The people shout that his voice is like that of a god, which causes the real god to kill him, right then and there, and feed him to worms because he doesn't give god credit for his speech. That'll teach him to plagiarise.

Meanwhile, Barnabas and Saul/Paul, return to Jerusalem with John, possibly Mark.

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