Rich Paxson

How has Peter’s pattern of desire been re-formed? What is he learning about God’s desires for the shape of religious communities?

Acts, Chapter 10 describes Peter’s initial movement towards a new pattern of desire. Peter captured the essence of his new understanding when he said “… God has shown me that I should not call any human common or unclean.” Peter learned that the victimizing practices of religious and cultural purity codes did not match God’s love for all regardless of beliefs, practices or place on any cultural map of human relations.

Peter understood, perhaps for the first time, that personal boundaries are permeable zones of contact, not barriers for exclusion. New patterns of desire, which are congruent with God’s love, emerge from the place of society’s outcasts, which where we hear God most clearly. The place of the victim, places where we find victims cast out from the dominant society, becomes the center from which God’s true religious community takes shape and grows.