Paul and His Fellow Workers - Chapter 1 -- By: Bard M. Pillette

Journal: Emmaus Journal
Volume: EMJ 05:1 (Summer 1996)
Article: Paul and His Fellow Workers - Chapter 1
Author: Bard M. Pillette

Paul and His Fellow Workers - Chapter 1

Bard M. Pillette1

The Oddities of Paul’s Leadership

The Anomalies of Life

My youngest daughter is named Tamin, a Hebrew word that means perfect and complete. We wanted to see her grow to be complete and perfect in Christ. She was born with a number of physical and mental anomalies, none terribly serious. The first thing I noticed was that when she cried, her lips pulled to one side. The nerve that controls the muscle around one side of her mouth was not functioning. I thought that the problem was on the side where her mouth drooped, but later I learned that the problem was just the opposite. The side that seemed normal and did not droop was actually not being pulled by the muscles to balance her smile and her crying.

Tamin’s many anomalies have forced me to rethink what is normal, attractive, and valuable, and to sharpen my judgment about what counts for all eternity. The anomalies of life have a way of making us question what we have always accepted as established human wisdom or convention. They tend to remind us that God prefers to go against the grain. As Paul put it in 1 Corinthians 1:28, “God has chosen, the things that are not (the anomalies), that He might nullify the things that are (human convention).”

Paul himself is an anomaly. He does not fit the pattern. He is a misfit. He throws things out of kilter. He does not follow convention. And as a result, he forces us to question even the accepted normal Christian wisdom about leadership.

Think about it. Is it not an enigma that the twelve apostles provided little leadership for the extension of Christ’s message into the world? Is it not even more odd that they were not the ones to elaborate on the implications of Christ’s message for the church? Yes, Peter and John did contribute to the New Testament letters concerning church life, but they do not compare to the volume and influence of Paul’s writings. Why would not the Twelve who lived and learned from Christ be the ones to leave the greatest mark on the early beginnings of Christianity?

There had to be some reason for Paul’s going against the norm. The anomalies are meant to intrigue us and to capture our attention. They bait us. They tempt us to think about the small subtleties that often make big differences. Let us consider some of the oddities in Paul’s development as a leader.

Paul’s Abnormal Entrance into Leadership

His Atypical Converson and Call as an Apostle

Paul knew that his entrance into th...

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