Wednesday, March 5, 2014

A House Divided

Some days it feels like we are a family divided.  

Isabella is at the barn, Nate is on the baseball field or basketball court, JT is playing with a friend.  Erik is working and I am running around in circles (some days literally).  

But in our hearts we are united.  It doesn't really matter where we might physically be found.  When it all comes down to it, we are one.  

This wasn't the case in first century Corinth.  This was a church that was divided.  And it wasn't just in the church.  This was a culture that embraced division.  It was a culture that thrived on schism.  Influential families would hire sophists or teachers of wisdom to educate their sons.  These teachers didn't teach wisdom as we would think of it (science, literature, math), it was more a how-to-win-friends-and-influence-people type of wisdom.  It was rhetoric.  How to present yourself to others so that they would listen to you and you would then have power and influence.  

Families would pride themselves on the sophist they followed.  They would ridicule those who followed other sophists.  If a sophist said or did something smart, honor was brought to all who followed him.  If he said or did something foolish, shame was brought to his followers.  This was the way the culture worked.  You chose a leader, you pledge allegiance to follow him, and then boasted about his accomplishments.  This was the norm.  It was what everyone in Corinth grew up doing.  It was how they lived.  It was the culture.  So it is no surprise really that they brought this aspect of the culture in to the church.  

Take a minute and read 1 Corinthians 10-17.

The Corinthians took what was perfectly normal in their culture and tried to apply it to the church.   They choose a church leader or apostle, pledged to follow him, then boasted about his accomplishments.  Looking back on this from a 21st century perspective we can see how foolish it is.  But before we start throwing stones, let's take a look at ourselves.  What parts of our culture are SO ingrained in us that we haven't even realized we have applied them to our faith?  Think about the conservative/liberal debates.  How about the way we compartmentalize our faith from the other aspects of our life like work, school and extracurricular activities? Church is on Sunday, maybe on Wednesday, but the other days are secular.  Is this what the first century church practiced or what our culture has dictated?  

These are just a few examples of the way our culture has influenced the way we live out our faith.  I am sure you can think of others.  Honestly, these examples are just as ridiculous as the way the church of Corinth divided themselves among the leaders and disciples.  Paul reprimanded them harshly for it.  Maybe we should be reprimanded as well.  

We are one in Christ, all church bodies (conservative and liberals).  Christ wants to reign if every aspect of our lives, every decision we make, and responsibility we have.  He wants to be part of our work, our school, and all our activities.  He doesn't want to be our Sunday Lord, he wants to be our day by day, minute by minute Lord.  

It is easy to look at the Corinthian Church and see all the places they got it wrong.  It is much much harder to look at ourselves and see where we are getting it wrong.  Even harder than that is to then do something about it.  

Will you, like the Corinthians, be a house that is divided? Or will you begin to let Christ into every aspect of your life every single day?  Will you live out your faith the way Christ wants you to or the way the culture implies you should?