Paul and his Roman Citizenship

25 As they stretched him out to flog him, Paul said to the centurion standing there, “Is it legal for you to flog a Roman citizen who hasn’t even been found guilty?”
26 When the centurion heard this, he went to the commander and reported it. “What are you going to do?” he asked. “This man is a Roman citizen.”
27 The commander went to Paul and asked, “Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?” “Yes, I am,” he answered.
28 Then the commander said, “I had to pay a big price for my citizenship.”
“But I was born a citizen,” Paul replied.
29 Those who were about to question him withdrew immediately. The commander himself was alarmed when he realized that he had put Paul, a Roman citizen, in chains.

So the question becomes – to what can I appeal to in order to gain some kind of benefit? And are there circumstances where it is right and wise to do so? or who knows, on the other hand, maybe even sinful to do so?

So for example, can I appeal to my citizenship status in some country overseas? Can I appeal to a caste status as one might in India? Can I appeal to the tribe that I belong to as one might in Kenya? Can I appeal to my race? Ethnicity ? My friend who has grown up here in the U.S. is a Turk – when he last went to Turkey, he never got charged tourist prices for anything, since he was a “Turk like everyone else”.

So my current trajectory of thought is : slavery/freedom —> race —-> caste

I don’t know how I got interested in all this, as I’ve never cared for these subjects for most of my life. Its usually more obscure theological matters.

I wonder … while the Bible contains elements of subversion as regards slavery, it does not explicitly condemn it. It lays the seeds for overturning it, but does not do so directly. Perhaps one reason why is that slavery was social and institutional. I guess I am trying to find a parallel with racialization. The issue of race in the U.S. involves both racism and racialization (something more institutional). Slavery back then was more so an institutional thing.

The Bible is far more concerned with a freedom from within. A spiritual freedom. Yes it is concerned about freedom from a tyrant, but more so a freedom from sin. “What does it matter if a man gains the world, but loses his soul?”

(Two Asides:
1. It needs to be noted that slavery back then was not what it is now and has been in recent centuries. For one thing, it was not a race or ethnicity issue, and people often voluntarily gave themselves up into slavery, esp. if they could find the right master – one under whom they would in effect have a much better life than if they were simply self-employed.
2. I mean what would you do if you were a Christian master and your slave became a believer? How does your treatment change? I know that during the colonial era of the US, the 1700’s etc., many masters tried to prevent their slaves from hearing the Gospel deliberately. Why? Because their slaves could hold them accountable to the Gospel, the Bible and God in general.)


One last jot …

Is it a sin for me to commit suicide?
No. Why?
Because my life belongs to God. It is not mine -esp. not mine to take.

So if life properly belongs to God, then can one person own another human being? Isn’t that what slavery is?

Perhaps a person can own another person’s services, but to own actual the person?