Saturday, January 11, 2020

Compelling Community

Stephen Um, in his commentary on 1 Corinthians, is speaking on reconciliation and equality within the church, gospel based and focused equality that flows from all that Christ has done for us. As he speaks on this topic, I believe that he makes a valid point when he is speaking on all that the Church ought to be:
Given our cultural moment, a community like this would be incredibly compelling. It is no secret that we live in a climate where inequality is a growing problem. But the thing is, every proposed solution misses this crucial point. Conservatives typically say that charity or philanthropy is the answer, that individuals should share. Liberals, on the other hand more or less go the welfare route -- the state, with our tax dollars in hand, should share. Now both of these are true -- individuals and the state should share!  But both also miss something absolutely crucial (which is why both charity and welfare come off clunky and arrogant, even offensive when you think about it). Both say, "Let me give you what I think you need without taking the time to get to know you, let alone share life with you, so I can just pat myself on the back and return to business as usual with my conscience clear." If reconciliation without justice is oppression ... then justice without friendship is just arrogance!  But we can avoid both dangers by sharing our goods and our lives.

Stephen Um (Commentary on 1 Corinthians: Preach the Word Series)

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Not Without Pain

"It is naive to think one can function with the simple formula: People have problems and the gospel resolves them. The fact is, the gospel generates in individual lives and in society a new set of problems. One has only to love impartially and hatred is threatened and stirred to violence. One has only to speak the truth and falsehood takes the stand with pleasing lies. Invite persons of different social and economic backgrounds around the same table and the fellowship is strained, often breaking apart ... Plant the cross in a room and the upwardly mobile convert it into a ladder. Evil, by whatever name it is called, will not sit idly by and allow the gospel to transform a community ... Let the preacher, therefore, be encouraged ... when having to deal with those problems which clearly have their origin in the fact that the gospel has been released in the community. A difference is being made, and that is seldom without pain."
F.B. Craddock "Preaching to Corinthians" ~ As quoted by Ben Witherington III in his commentary on 1 Corinthians.