About this blog

This Blog is named after an ancient gnoseological riddle which hints hidden, disseminated, omnipresent wisdom.
I invite you to search, listen and observe with me for "the word of tree, whisper of stone, and humming together of the abyss and stars."


Heavenly Hospitality

In the Bible, the Acts of Apostles (14:11-13), there is a bizarre story in which apostle Paul with his colleague Barnabas are on a missionary trip through the South Central Anatolia and are mistaken for the gods, Zeus and Hermes.
    Behind this bizarre misunderstanding is actually a beautiful ancient myth of hospitality. But unfortunately the misunderstanding of this misunderstanding is also connected with the growth of homophobia among the ancient Jews, Christians and Muslims.
    Let us start with the story of hospitality. It is nicely preserved and beautifully narrated by a gifted Roman poet Ovidius. He tells the story of Philemon and Baucis, an elderly poor couple who offered hospitality to strangers not knowing they were Zeus and Hermes in human form. Philemon and Baucis were rewarded for their hospitality while the rest of the hostile, hateful city around them was punished for neglecting their duty towards traveling strangers. (Interestingly, Ovid also situated this story to the South Central Anatolia)
    You might recognize that there is a typologically very similar story in the Bible (Gen 19). It is about two angels of the LORD visiting Lot in Sodom and Gomorrah. When I link these stories together, you can also realize why I did mention the emergence and growth of homophobia among the three Abrahamic religions. In all of them this story about hospitality and protection of strangers was twisted into the justification of vicious homophobia.
    Paul and Barnabas misunderstood and harshly rejected the genuine gesture of hospitality from the citizens of Lystra. They might not know the story of Philemon and Baucis and they did not recognize similarity to the biblical story because by their time the biblical story had been already influenced by homophobia. Soon afterwards the Church (together with the Synagogue and the Mosque) codified this misunderstanding for the upcoming centuries and twisted the story about hospitality into the foundational story of hatred.
    And this is something you might not know about the Bible. It is important to talk about it because only by talking about it and knowing about it we can undo centuries and centuries of viciousness and hatred and rejoice in the original story of welcome and hospitality.

If you come to our church this Sunday or if you know Ovid's poem,
you will understand why I picked this photo for this worship.