I originally wrote this paper for a New Testament course while in seminary. The text reflects a couple of changes from the original, including substitutions for the word queer which can be a stumbling block in conversations where people are not familiar with its use in academic discourse. The original, complete with instructor’s comments can be found here: http://www.brycerich.net/seminary-papers/nt/of-olive-trees-and-unnatural-acts.html
As I revisit this essay, I feel that perhaps the metaphor of the olive tree might have a new iterative resonance in our present context. While Paul’s cultivated olive tree was Judaism, I wonder if Orthodox readers might now hear the cultivated olive tree as the Tradition of the Orthodox Church. Great. This then opens to the question: is the work of the Great Horticulturalist continuing as other wild branches continue to be engrafted into the cultivated tree?