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My latest over at Catholic Weekly, looking at the New Testament as the underground literature it was and is:
One of the oldest bodies of samizdat in the world is called the “New Testament”. It was written by a community living, not only under the threat of persecution by a brutal Roman regime that killed its Master by crucifixion and which periodically killed his servants by equally brutal means, but also under the rejection of its very own fathers, mothers, siblings, grandparents, aunts, and uncles who were constantly telling the early Christians that they had lost their minds, that everything they believed is a lie, and that they are either crazy or liars too.
Community - World - Tale - Incarnation - Death
Such a community, telling the world such a tale as the incarnation, death, and resurrection of the God-man, needed to hear words of encouragement from one another—a lot. Its members needed to remind each other not merely to be brave against mobs that wanted to kill them, but against moms who pled with them to stop chasing after this nutty new cult that believed in a risen Messiah and claimed to have seen him with their own eyes. The great danger they faced was not persecution...
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"Tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive." C.S. Lewis