the ongoing passion of the Christian life. If they consider themselves of the bealready filled, rich and at home in the kingdom (4.8) they are mistaken, for inthe true wisdom found in the Church of Christ, the wise, the rich and thepowerful wait for those who are apparently foolish, without education, poor and powerless.Gentiles want mastery: Greeks look for knowledge, Romans for power.
Those who are regarded as rulers of the gentiles lord it over them and their high officials exercise authority over them. But it is not so with you. Instead whoever wants to because great among you must be slave of all. For eventhe Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life asa ransom for many’
The world-fearing escapism of the Gnosticism of the surrounding culture isnot the Wisdom of God. Christ is the Logos in which creation participates: allparts of creation, the bottom as much as the top, will be filled with thatwisdom and so redeemed. The incarnation, passion, and cross of Christ arethe wisdom of God. Union with Christ takes us through identification the lower as much as the higher parts of creation, and involve as much humiliation aselevation.
2. Christians After Rome
The Collapse of Empire and the Charge of Failure of failure of pietas
Augustine (354-430) was bishop of Hippo, near Carthage, in Latin-speakingnorth Africa, from which he was in close touch with Rome. He wrote a widerange of teaching material, biblical commentaries, introductions to Christiandoctrine along with discussions of crises in the government of the Church andthe wider political crisis of Rome. Like every other pastor, Augustine simplypassed on what he has received. He teaches all that he has learned from hisown teachers, among them the other Church Fathers whose work we alsohave. We are able to comment on how well Augustine has learned hislessons, and how well he is able to pass on the practices and instincts thatallow for the exercise of a Christian mind that will allow subsequentgenerations of the Church to do the same. Two works in particular have had asignificance,
The City of God
.Some events are immediately understood to have huge implications. One of these is the sack of Rome. It was understood at the time to be the fall of whathad seemed to be the world’s greatest and most invincible empire. But Rome,unable to raise its own troops to man his armies, had been employing wholeGerman tribes as mercenaries. In 140 one of these armies, under Alaric theGoth, marched into Rome and sacked it. Whenwomen were raped, some of the Christians among them, afraid that their purity was lost, had even taken