Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Epiphany 5c - 1 Corinthians 15:1-11

1 Corinthians 15:1-11
Paul’s defense of his ministry has always seemed a little defensive to me. He claims to be the least but believes himself to be the best. And while he gives credit to the grace of God working in him that implies the other apostles have less of whatever makes Paul more. But then he is a man of passion and contends for the faith with the same zeal with which he persecuted it. The Corinthians are no strangers to passion either. Speaking in the tongues of humans and angels they have divided the body of Christ and given themselves over to spiritual excess or perverted the freedom of the Gospel in lustful pursuits. Confident in their own wisdom they neither respect nor appreciate Paul or each other for that matter and are not afraid to say so. How is it that a faith that celebrates the ultimate act of sacrificial love sacrifices love so quickly? It is human pride and selfishness that turns good news into bad and resurrects what Christ was raised to destroy. But even when church conflict is so commonplace as to be the norm and we think it a miracle when the church actually is what it claims to be the story keeps getting told. Jesus died for sin, was buried and was raised on the third day. You can check the scriptures if you like. As long as the story is told the church has reason to hope that the grace of God was not given in vain.

5 comments:

  1. I hate conflict : ( Churches should be the last place we find it, too bad that it is so common.

    I read friend's religious beliefs on Facebook and tend to notice things like
    "religion is for the weak and lonely."
    "I don't believe in religion because they are all hypocrites."
    "Blank religion"

    This tends to make me sad, because as much as a Christian tries to get along and tries to be friends with everyone, there is always that person being the "Judus Iscariot" whether they know it or not. As much as we hate to think it, evil is present everywhere, cause until Christ returns this is Satan's playground and he loves to mess with people, including me at times, mainly about little things.

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  2. One root is a fundamental misunderstanding of sin, the human condition, and God's intentions for His creation. How's that for starters?
    We have all missed the mark. There is no one good, not even one. God created us in His image, with noble intentions and the ability to achieve them through Him.
    Love is easily sacrificed because we're all seemingly convinced that everyone else commits sins worse than our own. I'm OK - everyone else is the problem. That's what Satan has done to us.
    I could write a lot here, but I won't. One vignette comes to mind, though. Last year I was involved in organizing a public forum for political candidates in Grapevine / Colleyville / Southlake. A group of people from varied backgrounds met, and one of the first items on the agenda was venue. Several sites were suggested, among them public governmental rooms, some private spaces, churches, etc. One person in the group suggested a specific church that was centrally located, would welcome the event and charge us nothing. Another person in the group, a very maternal looking middle-aged lesbian, immediately stood up and angrily said "I don't think we should have it in a church where we'd have all that Christian crap around."
    Her words and her rage have stuck with me these past several months. The truth is that in many parts of our culture the Christian church is more likely to be associated with hatred than with love.
    The way out of it, I think, begins with being honest about who we are, and seeking to clean up our own backyard. When we're honest about our own sin; our own failings, weaknesses, compulsions, addictions, etc., it becomes a lot easier to love others as they are.

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  3. Good to have you back, Greg. Well said.

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  4. Greg-

    I agree with you. It is very easy to point the finger and I find myself doing that often, but we have to pull that "plank" out of our own eyes :) OR God will do it and man does it suck to be humbled that way!!!

    I also agree that most people associate church with hate. It is strange this is mentioned, because I was in school this evening talking to a 21 year old girl, about church today and she told me that she doesn't go, but she totally believes in Christ. She told me that she doesn't go because people are judgmental and then try to cover it up as being Godly. I hate this. Ya know, your lady was probably got the brunt end of this kind of judging, just because of who she was and her lifestyle. I hold firmly that if we reach out to all people and plant that (positive) seed, then God can perform wonders. Human nature says we want to plant the seed and then make it grow (dealing with this in my own life, big time!), but God says we just need to sow it.

    About the honesty thing, I totally believe that! The only bad part is when you are honest and others label you or don't want to be around you because THEY can't understand that kind of honesty. Then the person who is honest gets punished or gossiped about, so that person tends to shut-up faster than a clam.

    Very cool, posting, I enjoyed discussing it and hearing your point of view!

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