The trouble with Philippi (pt7)

by Craig on March 9, 2011

As we left off, the carpenter and his son have been thrown in Paul’s old jail cell. Luckily the jailer is a member of the church – and their treatment is better than it could be.

If you missed any – this is part of a larger series on the city of Philippi. But this is part 3 of this story – part one is here and two is here .

There are even attempts by the priests to place some of the thugs in the jail on false charges – to further the damage done. These attempts have been blocked by the jailer. Visitors from the church have flowed in to both the business and the jail.

The carpenter is not alone.

But the danger is far from past.

Some of the fingers on both hands are now broken – without hands there is no carpentry. No carpentry means no income. That is an ominous sign.

Meanwhile, back at the shop, the priests have swarmed, and have painted curses over the front of the shop – warnings that those entering will not live well. Superstition ran high in Philippi – and these markings and etchings would ward everyone away.

What did these drawings look like?

Something like this maybe…

The only ones crossing past the curses are members of the church. They may only have been 50 strong – out of a population of 10,000 – but they. were. strong.

Every single member would have visited either the jail or the home before noon.

Still, the picture is bleak. The family that was living week to week now has no money – and with broken hands – no way to make money. And all of this because of a wooden cross.

What’s worse is this. A meeting of the carpenter’s guild has convened. In the status controlled city that was Philippi – where everyone had a place – even the poor had a ladder to climb. The guilds were craftsmen who banded together – unions of a sort – fraternities of a sort.

Their decisions controlled the business of the businesses.

They had gods to whom they dedicated the guild – and of course – this Christian was an “atheist” in their eyes.

He is now a banned atheist.

Even after his hands are healed – business will be near impossible.

The ripples of the cross continue.

The landlord too has entered the picture. There really were no tenant rights for the poor in Philippi. If the money was there you had a place to live. If the money was not you didn’t. And now with all the damage done to the property the landlord is “concerned”.

He demands immediate funds for repair work and has doubled the rent. Explaining that his risks are now doubled – and the rent must keep pace.

There are any number of ways the story could play out from here. Things could continue to worsen:

  • The family is evicted, left alone on the streets, and whatever disaster being homeless in Philippi might entail – might ensue.
  • The priests could make due on their “curse” – criminals were easy to hire and the streets of Philippi at night could be dangerous. A lone man with wounded hands would be easy prey for a “chance” mishap – or murder – on a dark alley way.
  • The teen son – or the mother – might have to sell themselves as slaves to keep the family afloat.

Things. already disastrous, could get worse in an instant.

But there are brighter endings too.

Did I say I was going to conclude this story today? Well consider it concluded…

if you choose one of the “bad” endings.

I like happy endings myself.

Tomorrow – some happier endings to pick from.

When I was a kid there were “Choose Your Own Adventure” books.

Maybe this can be like that.

You can select any one of the horrid outcomes…


come back tomorrow for the “silver lining” options.

Or come up with an ending of your own. That might be fun.

At any rate, feel free to end this story as you like :)

I heart that – it makes me smile – choices are good.

God Bless

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Dianna McBride March 9, 2011 at 7:17 am

Ahhh ~ there’s the curse you spoke of that was coming! I picture the scene well in my mind’s eye because of the curse I spoke of before. The curse I mentioned was given by the same person as you mentioned in Philippi. The difference was that where the priests in Philippi painted over the front of the carpenter’s shop to mark the curse, the priests I know of stopped in front of the house/gate and flung some water and “prayed” a curse to come down on these people who were “stealing” from the church. This came about just as some of the members of this church were desiring to know more of the TRUTH, which was no surprise. As our son-in-law continued in his faithfulness to the LORD, there were people added to the Kingdom ~ but there were also those who were frightened by the curse and left. This took place in one of the largest cities in the world (population of 20 million last count I’d heard). Our daughter and son-in-law lived in three different sections of that city and each place they had the curse applied to their home by one or more priests. It amazes me how some things never change.

Thank you, Craig, for making this such an interesting study of background. I’m learning so much as we go along.


Craig March 9, 2011 at 8:45 am

Thank you for sharing that Dianna. That’s a story in and of itself. Powerful. I was riveted. And thank you for reading too. God Bless.


A. March 9, 2011 at 7:46 am

Dianna-what a vivid example you bring! It is just what Craig is writing about!!

I pause, as I think of the Christians I know (and I have done this a time or two in the past, also-shamefully admitting here) who avoid shopping at certain legitimate businesses once they learn these businesses actively support causes the Christians (read ‘I’) don’t agree with…pro abortion or pro whatever it may be…and I wonder if that is in any way like the heart of the curse-givers… “I hate what you believe so I am going to register that hate by negatively affecting you and your life….? I don’t know but I am thinking about it because that is what just popped into my mind as I pondered this. I am thinking of a popular restaurant chain, banking group, and grocery chain…all of which I personally (and privately) boycotted for a period of time because of their causes. I did write them courteous letters of disagreement, but I also……stopped shopping there for a while…. Now I am thinking I was just a milder or different form of the curse-givers/hand breakers.


Craig March 9, 2011 at 8:48 am

OK – my first impression is that you really shouldn’t worry. Voicing you disapproval of a business by not doing business with them is a far cry from this story. Youare a customer – if you are not pleased – well it’s their job to please you. If i suddenly start writing horrible anti Christian garbage here – I’d expect you to move on. So I’m thinking – you’re ok with your protests – especially with your “courteous letters of disagreement” !!!!

You are not a curse giver / hand breaker – you’re a blessing :) God Bless.


Debbie March 9, 2011 at 11:26 am

Wow . . .so much here today from the story and the comments. Craig, that everyone in the church would go and show support, no matter the curses . . .I really felt that. I can’t wait to read your happier options tomorrow, and am hoping one of them involve this body of believers taking in the family, protecting and supporting. :) I like happy endings too!
Dianna’s real life story . . .Praying for your family members who go through this on an ongoing basis!
A . . .once again you show yourself an Angel of mercy and compassion. I agree with Craig, that you have not cursed, have not done wrong. But you know what? I’m wondering if this is His Spirit in you, showing you another way to reach out to those who believe differently, for Him. It might speak louder to them than boycotting, to still go places like this, but share what you believe while respectfully listening and doing business with them. Definitely harder to do, I think, than boycotting though! ha!
God bless you, Craig, and all the ways He is speaking through your life!


Craig March 9, 2011 at 12:02 pm

Hey Deb!!! No fair!!!! That was one of the endings!!!!! Grrrrrrrrrr. :)

And thank you deb – as always – and God Bless.


Michelle March 9, 2011 at 5:33 pm

Isn’t it sad what people will do out of fear. Banding together and cursing those who are ‘different’ for whatever reason. And it happens in the church also, which is really tragic. If we really believed God is Who He said He is, and really trusted His ways, we wouldn’t walk in fear of anything or anyone. But sometimes I forget that God is bigger than me and what is going on around me, and there is fear for personal safety/beliefs because I can’t do it on my own and *forget* that I don’t have to.


Craig March 9, 2011 at 6:11 pm

Well I’m in good company then – because I forget way too often too Michelle. God bless.


Maryleigh March 9, 2011 at 9:24 pm

I believe goodness will prevail. I love 19th century literature just becauseof that. Think Les Miserable. Victor Hugo’s story shows how the law can be heartless, lacking in love, compassion and fogiveness. Then he takes shows us salvation through grace, freedom through forgiveness.

Too many Christians today, like A said, great law over grace. I remember carrying a Starbucks coffee into Vacation Bible School – when someone commented about me selling out and supporting people who do not like the Christians. I knew a lot of those baristas. They were college students, some of whom had been in my classes or played soccer with my son. They were my mission field. When I pointed that out, she just rolled her eyes. It is so sad how many people walk past those mission fields because they cannot see the souls for the company CEO’s agenda.

I cannot wait to read more of your story. I love learning history!


Craig March 9, 2011 at 9:29 pm

So true Maryleigh – so true. Our mission field IS out there!!! And all the judgy-ness? When we get through with Philippi – I get right back to the Book of James – and judgy-ness is not going to get a kind review! Thank you so much for reading. God Bless.


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