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Re: Ch. 11 - The Apostle of Love
Wright tries to create a jaunty tone by using the language of commerce, equating opening churches with francising McDonalds or Taco Bells. I guess he does this to relieve what he fears may be the dryness of his subject, but there is in fact some similarity. All of the factors you mention come into play with the spread of Christianity beyond the borders of Israel. They don't to me appear sufficient in themselves, though, to explain why Paul carried out this difficult mission. He didn't create the Christian church, but it was he who determined that it would be a Pauline Christian church rather than that of other prominent contenders that Wright talks about. Facts on the ground might seem in retrospect to have strongly influenced Paul's emphasis on the brotherhood of Christians--regardless of ethnicity or nationality--but it doesn't for me explain the whole phenomenon. We should note, too, that even with Paul's theme of love, the universalism is not particularly strong; it's Christians loving Christians.
So I think at this point I find something missing in Wright's analysis. It may be simply desire, strong belief, idealism that accounts in part for love figuring so prominently. At any rate, it's a good thing, thought not the ultimate development in universalism.
The Chinese philosopher is one who dreams with one eye open, who views life with love and sweet irony, who mixes his cynicism with a kindly tolerance, and who alternately wakes up from life's dream and then nods again, feeling more alive when he is dreaming than when he is awake.
Lin Yutang (1895-1976), The Importance of Living