Saul of Tarsus: The Gossip Chronicles

Memo
From: Hymenaeus

To: Alexander

Subject: Saul of Tarsus, continuing contempt by the self-announced apostle for our established authority

Concern Statement: Saul of Tarsus now calls himself Paul. He claims to have been in the presence of God in the heavenlies. He asserts a knowledge unannounced to the established imperium. That is, he does not recognize our preeminent position as arbiters of church patronage. He is becoming increasingly petulant in his comments about headquarters leadership in Jerusalem.

   At the same time, it should be noted he has been very outspoken in support of the Jerusalem church. His fund raising ability rivals his ability to make converts and establish outposts of the church in unlikely population centers. He is not our friend, per se, but seems to see the institution of the headquarters (the Jerusalem Church) is greater than the face(s) of the institution, i.e., current leadership.

   In fact, busy as he is making tents and converts, fighting for the faith in faraway places and fleeing for his life occasionally, he is very involved in collecting funds for our relief in rich districts like Corinth.  As you know we are strapped for funds. We are in serious danger of losing our positions due to personnel cutbacks. We cannot, therefore, actually afford to axe Saul, alienated as we are from him. We must find a way to marginalize his overt resistance quietly while encouraging him openly to continue his convert making and fund raising.

   If we fail to lessen his influence among the decision makers real changes could be in the offing. Attendance at our events is largely limited now to the very supportive or the very apathetic/dependent; groups we can count on to vote our way without serious discussion.The problem is that these groups consume more than they produce. Saul is a producer. We have to find ways to minimize his influence in the reliable voting blocs but we cannot afford to alienate him or his group(s) entirely.

   I do not have to remind you of how we held ourselves out of the church controversies of the last decade while biding our time, ready for the call when it came. You and I and others of the leadership are mostly acceptable to the current leadership quite because we are unbloodied. If we are to maintain our positions in office we will now have to effect strategies that will make it appear we are on both sides at once, while actually holding ourselves distant from any real commitment that might tarnish us now or endanger us in the future.

   I propose, then, since we cannot touch the zealots or the Pharisees, we privately attack Saul of Tarsus to the Judaizers who oppose him, while never actually taking a position ourselves that would damage us with the Greek-speakers. In this way we can make Saul the issue, while publicly praising his fund raising and convert making. We can call him to "return to his work in the field" and "cease his publishing of controversy detrimental to the body." We can insist he should be more like the beloved old Saint Peter who knows to talk around issues rather than take a simple stand.In this way Simon Peter can draw support from all groups without actually ever taking a meaningful stand that might confuse possible converts with its unbecoming honesty. In this way we can seem to stand on the high ground while actually occupying any district that might sustain our institutional position.

   In short, if Saul is right we must be wrong. If we are wrong we cannot expect to be maintained in office. I do not have to remind you that our strength is not in the field but in the office. Here people hear our voice. Here our calls are returned and our words get a hearing. It was not so in our days out in the fields. If we are to matter in this great work we must have a vehicle of transmission, which our office gives us. No one listened to us before. All must hear us now.

   I await your thoughts on strategy planning. I am taking a five day weekend after today, as I am simply exhausted from my recent vacation. I will return to the office on the 3rd of Abib. Greet the brethren with a holy kiss.

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