Blogging A – Z Challenge 2022: J is for Jesus’ Disciples

Herb’s Blog, Herbdate 22710 – 958

Here’s the haps:

There is a book called Foxe’s Book of Martyrs which details many of the persecutions and tortures suffered by the Christians of the early church. The link above is to a Project Gutenberg free copy and it’s available in HTML, Epub, Kindle, And plain text. You can also buy it at any good Christian bookstore, I’m sure. It was the second book I bought when my friend Irma opened her Christian book and health food store called The Staff of Life. It still exists there in Shawano, WI, but I don’t know who runs it anymore.

It was in the Nineteen Seventies when God miraculously, powerfully, and dramatically baptized me with His Spirit and changed my life forever. I had already been excommunicated from the Jehovah’s Witnesses and was a pretty wretched sinner for being a young teenager. I was a teenage alcoholic, smoked tobacco and other things, and could string a series of epithets and curse words together in a more than poetic manner. I was a mess and God instantaneously delivered me from all of it. He also showed me at that moment that most of the things I had been taught were wrong and that I needed to replace the Bible I had from them (called by many, “The Green Dragon”) with a real Bible. Someone provided me with one but I needed my own.

When you come into a small town in Wisconsin there is always a church and a bar at the edge of the town. Doesn’t matter which road you come in on, either. And all along in the towns are varieties of drinking establishments. Working downtown on Main Street as I did I would walk past several to meet my friends or simply go home. One of them, I can’t remember the name anymore, was closed down and a couple of months later I walked by and there was this cheerful little woman happily scraping the Pabst Blue Ribbon sign off of the window with a razor blade. She was friendly and introduced herself. “I’m Irma Timmons and I bought this place and I’m going to turn it into a Christian bookstore.” I laughed out loud and told her how wonderful I thought it was that the most infamous bar in town would now be a Christian bookstore. the first one in town, if I recall correctly. There was a stationery store in town that sold church programs and family Bibles and such but it was not an actual bookstore of any sort. Irma’s daughter Barb was friends with one of my friends and so we all kind of knew each other a bit that way, as well. I would encourage her every time we saw each other and we became friends.

Finally, the opening day came, with samples of healthy foods and well-stocked bookshelves with Bibles and commentaries and many other types of books to peruse. The only disappointment was the main display was the newly printed and copyrighted New International Version Bible. I asked how the Bible could be copyrighted and I explained to her that all the arguments they were presenting for this version were the exact same ones the Jehovah’s Witnesses used for theirs. It’s the same thing. I wrote about the differences between them last year. Nothing happened right then and there but a couple of weeks later, which coincided with my paycheck, there was a new King James study Bible out called The Open Bible which had study helps and articles about archaeology and a complete concordance. Just all kinds of nifty and I still have it even though I can’t make practical use of it anymore.

And all of those preliminaries, just to get to how Foxe’s Book of Martyrs was the second book I ever bought from her have little to do with today’s post. The original disciples and the early church suffered much at the hands of the Roman Empire and is nothing to make light of. Being crucified head down like Peter was or being tied to an X shaped cross like his brother Andrew; being stoned or beheaded or beaten. Nero wrapping them in wax shirts and putting them on poles and setting them on fire to light his gardens and I’m not even going into the details. If you have never read Foxe, I suggest it very highly.

Oh, and in my searches I found the following, more serious, satirical clip which I thought really contained a lot of truth. The woman’s description in the notes on Youtube tell that she did not actually drink the wine but had some around for cooking. She also points out that it is satire. Definitely gives some food for thought in my opinion.

But, to teach children about who the disciples were, we have a Sunday School song that we sing. I don’t remember the first time I saw this video but some of my grandchildren really love it. And actually, the reason I am sharing it (I apologize in advance for any ads. I don’t use ads on my blog but I know they do.) is because I really love the graphics and nobody seems to know where they came from. I really want a set of these and I know somewhere, someone has used these in Sunday School or Vacation Bible School and has them in an envelope packed away somewhere. Nobody related to the video has any idea where they came from, who the artist might be or what religious organization or unaffiliated organization they were from.

14 Comments

  1. I didn’t have any ads.
    I also never heard that song before in the many religions my family were exposed to. Seems dad was not happy anywhere but always helped at the church. My mom brought us to a Lutheran church after he left. I love my church now and can say none of those others awakened me to the truth only left me with questions.
    Thank you.

  2. Again, glad I was done drinking my coffee when I watched Melissa’s video, and happy that I have the “better deal” as well.
    Jesus is more concerned with out holiness than our happiness. But “have a nice day.” 😏

  3. That’s an interesting journey you took. I assume there was a learning curve concerning holidays. I didn’t know much about the Jehovah’s Witnesses until a coworker sketched some of it out, including the thing about holidays. Which still seems bizarre to me. Growing up Catholic (and staying one; both my brothers didn’t, but my sisters did) I don’t have a conversion story. I often wonder how it works for people.

  4. I am sure that Foxe’s is interesting as a historical artifact, but I cannot share your enthusiasm for it. The English Reformation was the ugliest of them all, with far more cruelty than there should have been. Foxe’s was partisan in the extreme, favoring the protestant view, which was that the Catholic Church had been the cause of virtually all of the nastiness, while ignoring the atrocities of the English Reformers, from Henry VIII on down. In modern parlance, it would be akin toThe 1619 Project, more advocacy than realhistory. Polemics can be fun (if they cater to one’s own biases) but I prefer histories with more honesty and balance.

    Sorry, I don’t mean disrespect for your fondness for the book, which came into your life when you were hungry with a new faith. I only know that many today are unaware of its historical context.

    • Well, I am not offended and have heard of these things over the years and the bias is fairly obvious but I think there is still some things to learn. I am aware that there will be plenty for all religions to answer for at that day.

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