Where Logic Meets Love

A Modern Version of 1 Corinthians 12

Friday, February 1, 2013

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A Modern Version of 1 Corinthians 12 | Faith Permeating Life

Last Sunday, the second reading in church was from 1 Corinthians 12. As I heard it, I thought about how it could be applied to some of the struggles going on in the modern-day Christian church.

The original text uses a metaphor of the different parts of the body to illustrate how all people have a role to play in body of Christ. But the disputes that this passage was meant to settle are not the same ones that our churches are currently struggling with. What if we were concerned not about divisions between Jews and Greeks, slaves and freepersons, but between other differences that now divide us?
For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether men or women, whether gay or straight, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

For the body is not one member, but many. If the woman says, "Because I am not a man, I am not a part of the body," she is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. And if the gay man says, "Because I am not straight, I am not a part of the body," he is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. If they were all one member, where would the body be? But now there are many members, but one body. And the straight man cannot say to the gay man, "I have no need of you"; or again the man to the woman, "I have no need of you."

On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, whereas our more presentable members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.


(Adapted from 1 Corinthians 12:12-26, NASB; the last paragraph has not been altered)

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4 comments:

  1. I was sitting in Mass thinking the very same thing! I really can't imagine why all Christians don't see the current application of these verses. And yet, the thing is, it applies even to the "liberal" and "conservative" parts of the Body. We are so quick to dismiss each other and say, "Those other people aren't real Christians," but that doesn't make it true, any more than we can deny that our hands or feet are part of us. As Paul so clearly shows, such arguments are absurd.

    Books could be written on the subject! And maybe I will someday...

    I'd love to hear your thoughts on lectionary readings more often.

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    Replies
    1. True! I was thinking of it more in terms of... demographics, for lack of a better word? Jew or Greek, male or female, inherent characteristics for which we should not be excluded from full participation in the church. But you provide a good reminder that other aspects of our selves, such as our political or theological beliefs, may also be diverse and yet do not invalidate our identity as Christian either. We can all have a place in the Body of Christ, even if mine may look different from yours.

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    2. Oh yeah, I totally didn't mean to skip over your main point. As a gay Christian, one of the most hurtful things someone can say to me is that they don't consider me a real Christian. It is the core of my identity and, actually, the core of how I try to relate to my partner.

      Galatians also has a lot to say about letting non-essentials get in the way of the Gospel. Food for thought and action.

      Relatedly, I am really enjoying Torn...

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  2. President Obama is firmly committed to the homosexual agenda and recent promises made to the LBGT and others have caused some in the conservative movement and the evangelical and Pentecostal churches to shudder. It is also clear that the church's concerns have little bearing on the President's position to throw the doors open for the "gay agenda by closing the steel doors around those who make so much as a whimper against the gays. Signing the untested and highly suspect Matthew Shepard act is the latest evidence of that.

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