The rain has stopped in Christchurch and some semblance of order is being created in the Carrell household. The house we are living in is definitely the creeperest house we have ever lived in - 'creeperest' means 'lots of creepers growing around the house, property and even the odd tenderil sneaking into the house'; it is quite different to 'creepiest' meaning scary.
Yesterday in church for reasons which escape me twenty-four hours later I was thinking about Jesus and Paul, the charge made by some that Christianity really began with Paul, not with Jesus, and that what we call Christianity, even if it began with Jesus, is the result of a Pauline Hellenization of the original Jesus movement and teaching. The thought which came to my mind reflecting on this old chestnut of early theological development is that Paul was necessary to God's plan. The plan, after all, was to save the world. Jesus came to God's people Israel and began the implementation, but inevitably it was received by Jesus' followers with a mindset locked into Israel being saved, restored and resuming its Davidic glories. A break of the mindset was needed, and that was unlikely to occur within the minds of Palestinian Jews.
Now that break did occur in Peter's mind (Acts 10) but he was not going to be the best person to spearhead the international (Gentile) mission of the church. For that an international Jew would be better; thus, Paul of Tarsus was recruited. On this line of thinking Paul was not discontinuous with Jesus but continuous (and the New Perspective on Paul can be understood to undergird that continuity).
These thoughts occurred before the readings. You might imagine my amazement to find that the epistle was taken from Acts 9, the Conversion of Paul. (Yes, I realise that if I was in touch with the lectionary I would have no need to be amazed, but I plead feeling disconnected with such things during the move).