“Stanley Hauerwas opens one of his classes by reading a letter from a parent to a government official. The parent complains that his son, who had received the best education, gone to all the right schools, and was headed for a good job as a lawyer, had gotten involved with a weird religious sect. Now members of this sect controlled his every move, told him whom to date and whom not to date, and had taken all of his money. The parent is pleading with the government official to do something about this weird religious group.
‘Who is this letter describing?’ Hauerwas asks. Some think it is describing the Moonies, or some other weird sect.
It is a composite letter drawn from the letters of third-century Roman parents concerning a group called the church.” -William Willimon
“We have thereby papered over, indeed forgotten, how deeply ambiguous, even negative, the early church was about family. In his book The First Urban Christians, Wayne Meeks notes that pagan Roman society had no more cherished value than its belief in the primacy of the family. Every Roman institution had its basis in the Roman family. There was no means of social advancement (other than the military) in ancient Rome other than marriage into a more superior family, because your family determined your status in life.” -William Willimon
“Anuradhi Vittachi (Earth Conference One, 1989) asks us to imagine the world as a village with one hundred families:
‘If this metaphorical village consists of one hundred families… sixty-five cannot read. Some eighty families have no members who have flown on airplanes, and seventy have no drinking water at home. About sixty families occupy ten percent of the village, while just seven own sixty percent of the land… Only one family has a university education.'” -quoted in William Willimon, Peculiar Speech
“In Acts 17:16-34, Luke has become fully at home within the linguistic world of paganism, facing its questions and using its speech. Luke refuses, however, to fit the good news of Jesus into paganism’s preconceived categories. Jesus Christ is Lord.” -William Willimon
“The great missionary bishop Lesslie Newbigin gave a Bible to an erudite Hindu friend. A few weeks later the friend returned the Bible complaining, “This is not a religious book. It hardly mentions the gods; it’s filled with stories of ordinary and even bad people!” -William Willimon, Incarnation: The Surprising Overlap of Heaven & Earth.
Here is an interesting take on what it would mean to be like Jesus:
Thoughts from William Willimon’s book on the seven words of Christ from the cross: