Who said theology needed to be dry? Last weekend I found myself in a conversation with my sons about the Greek gods and the ancient Christians. You see, my pre-teen sons are both into the Percy Jackson books and movies this year, and for the uninitiated Percy Jackson is the son of Poseidon, the Greek god of the seas. The books are a lot of fun, and in the course of them Percy has numerous run-ins with the “big three” of the Greek pantheon – Zeus, Poseidon and Hades – along with many other powers.
Well, I couldn’t help noting that Barnabas and Paul were once confused with Zeus and Hermes according to the book of Acts. The boys found this fascinating. But they weren’t overly surprised that Paul was mistaken for Hermes, not Zeus, as they were well aware of Paul’s reputation for talking on and on and on. Especially from the tragic-comic incident elsewhere in Acts where someone falls out of a window, having dozed off during a particularly loooong sermon of his. That sermon FAIL always gets a laugh out of them.
It was particularly fun though, to see them make the connections when I mentioned the story of Jesus calming the winds and the waves on Lake Galilee. “Hey”, my son recognised, “Jesus was taking on two of the big three at once: Zeus and Poseidon!” “Yes,” I said, “But his greatest victory was over Hades, in the tomb outside Jerusalem.”