Luke wants us to admire Paul, but it’s hard not to be a little impressed with the Athenians. Most people are not curious enough to spend their time in nothing but telling or hearing something new, but the Athenians were unique (v. 21). Stoics believed in one God who could be experienced through nature. Epicureans wanted to live with deep joy. Both groups tried to have a thoughtful approach to life.
Now they wonder where Paul gets his ideas. The crowd gets loud downtown, so they invite Paul to give a speech at the Areopagus (Mars Hill) where things are quieter.
Ted Lasso explains to the evil millionaire Rupert why he is an optimist: “One day I was driving my little boy to school and I saw this quote from Walt Whitman painted on the wall there that said, ‘Be curious, not judgmental.’ I like that.”
Fans of Ted Lasso went looking for the source. We found “Be curious, not judgmental” on posters, coffee mugs, and T-shirts, but Whitman did not write it. The line is so good and the sentiment so thoughtful that people falsely attributed it to the iconic poet.
On their good days, the Athenians were curious and not judgmental. On our good days, we are curious and not judgmental.
If Christianity is true, then our curiosity cannot be shut in by boundaries of language, race, or nationality. God offers grace to all people, or it is not grace. A thoughtful, joyful Christian faith helps us see that God meets us in a variety of ways. God is doing new things for everyone who is curious enough to pay attention.
What new idea is worth exploring?
God, help me see that you are in more places, in more ways, and with more people than I have imagined. Amen.