Thursday, February 03, 2011

1 Corinthians 2:1-12, (13-16)

Epiphany 5 - Year A

1 Corinthians 2:1-12, (13-16)

15 - Those who are spiritual discern all things, and they are themselves subject to no one else’s scrutiny.

This may well have been Paul’s experience and claim for authority. For Paul and the plowing and seeding of a Church, he may have felt the need to set up a separation of spirit and flesh, grace and law (short-term effective, long-term problematic). This sort of clarity and either/or was probably helpful in his time and for his purposes, but 2,000+ years later - not so much.

The experience here is that the more spiritual we are the more worldly we must be. Barbara Brown Taylor’s book An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith is an excellent source of this perspective. She notes, that currently church people seem to think that the only “more” available to them is more of the same.

Somewhere along the line we bought - or were sold - the idea that God is chiefly interested in religion. We believed that God’s home was the church, that God’s people knew who they were, and that the world was a barren place full of lost souls in need of all the help they could get. Plenty of us seized on those ideas because they offered us meaning. Believing them gave us purpose and worth. They gave us something noble to do in the midst of lives’ that might otherwise be invisible. Plus, there really are large swaths of the world filled with people in deep need of saving.

The problem is, many of the people in need of saving are in churches, and at least part of what they need saving from is the idea that God sees the world the same way they do. What if the gravel of a parking lot looks as promising to God as the floorboard of a church? What if a lost soul strikes God as more reachable than a lifelong believer? What if God can drop a [Jacob’s] ladder absolutely anywhere, with no regard for the religious standards developed by those who have made it their business to know the way to God?

Somehow we need to rebind the world to G*D and G*D to the world. Out of this encounter, sparks will fly.
 

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