I know very little about the Victorian period—that’s more my wife’s thing—so I don’t know how widespread was this sentiment, but I find it very interesting that in a supposedly ‘Christian’ country and era, the aspiration was not to build God’s kingdom but to replicate the Roman Empire.
When I last preached (the sermon’s here), I improvised a comment about it being to the Church’s shame that it hadn’t addressed slavery issues sooner. The same could be said for its sexism, its racism, its willingness to read Paul as reinforcing the status quo than in looking for other possibilities generated by his underlying theology. But if the cultural and political desire to aspire to empire was and is greater than the need to build the kingdom, this is no surprise. And if it’s specifically the Roman Empire that was and is our inspiration, then Paul continues to have a lot of good and relevant things to say—if only we take his theology seriously.
Another photo from Chesters Roman Fort and Museum. You’re welcome.