Epiphany 4 - Year B
1 Corinthians 8:1-13
Now, concerning food sacrificed to idols....
Now, concerning xxxx(anything)xxxx....
It appears any claim to knowing forgets that understanding shifts. Thus it is important to come to grips with what is claimed as a source of authority. Here Paul attributes rules, “what everyone knows”, to G*D.
In this case we are reminded that there are rules and principles beyond an immediate limitation on behavior. These larger meta-understandings come from a relationship named love. Through these we find the courage to enter into a new relationship with food and idols. Through these we find the assurance that we can break our own larger rules on behalf of others - doing so willingly, not coerced.
There is not a way to protect others from falling away from their next best ideal, much less one of their past beliefs. To operate out of false protection of another is simple enabling. It would be more helpful if Paul were to speak out of what one can do with integrity while caring for another rather than taking responsibility for their well-being. In this way I can eat with vegans and vegetarians, with omnivores and advocates of steak tartare, without trying to talk them out of their way or show them up with an alternative menu. We need more honoring of differences-in-doing than attempts at conversion-of-being.
Diets do not bring us close to ultimate reality, though they can help remind us to live out of a sense of fullness, not scarcity. Making others into ourself does not construct a paradise. Freedom to respond beyond rules leads us to the big non-rule - be with others as you would have them be with you.
Now, concerning food or anything else, be strong enough in your conscience to be gentle with the conscience of others.