From just two verses at the end of Romans, Paula Gooder has gleaned some fascinating insights about Phoebe. She was likely a freed slave, who became wealthy and influential. And she was a deacon who carried Paul’s letter to the Church in Rome, and most likely explained it to them. From these intriguing details, Paula has written a novel, exploring the life of this woman (and others) in the early church.
So we met up with Paula to chat about women in the early church and the church today. And as you’d expect from Paula is was a conversation brimming with enthusiasm, wisdom and insight.
After the interview Nomad hosts Tim Nash and David Blower ponder what all this means for their evolving faith.
Interview begins at 12m 47s
Image provided by Paula Gooder. Used with permission.
“One of the really interesting things about the way in which churches develop is how enculturated we become. So, we like to think that we are guided by principles other than the society in which we live and we have great vision for changing things. And that is to a certain extent the case. But if you just trace your way through church history, time and time again the church become embedded in the society in which it finds itself. And we still are today. And we just need to be clear that that is the case. So, we might want to think we’re incredibly radical, but we’re not really. Society really affects how things are.”
“The Bible tells the story of humanity from creation to the end of time. And it is a play with a missing act at the end. And what we’re called to do as Christians is to improvise. We read the Bible, we understand what it’s talking about, we understand the dynamics, and then we do faithful improvisation. So, we’re called to enter the stage of God’s love for the world and to improvise from what we know of the story of God’s relationship between God and people from the dawn of time to the end of all times.”