Glynn Cardy’s commentary on Days 11–20

Community of Saint LukeGlynn Cardy continues his daily posts on the Community of Saint Luke Facebook page with days 11 to 20, embedded here for ease of reference. Clicking on the date (“Tuesday, June 30…”) will take you to the full entry on Facebook.

Day 11

1 Corinthians 11:2-16 is a favourite for milliners who specialize in XX customers, and hair salons that specialize in XY customers. As a man who likes hats, it’s one of my least favourite passages of the Bible.

Talking of hats I’m about to get a new one. Malcolm, whom I talked about on Day 4 was a great hat man. And his lovely wife wants to buy me a hat as a thank you gift. A black, felt, classy one. I can’t wait.

As for men with long hair, hasn’t Paul seen one of those pictures of the European looking Jesus with flowing robes and flowing hair? Obviously not. …

Posted by The Community of Saint Luke on Friday, July 10, 2015

Day 12

Some paraphrased Brandon Scott thoughts on this whole section of 1 Corinthians 12-14:

The discussion is dealing with an elite group within the Corinthian community who claim to be wise, strong, and well thought of. While valuing knowledge, wisdom, and spiritual gifts, their elitism according to Paul threatens the community’s fellowship or cohesion. This group seem to prize above all else ‘speaking in tongues’. …

Posted by The Community of Saint Luke on Saturday, July 11, 2015

Day 13

It’s somewhat rare these days for church people to pose a threat to the dominant cultural, political, and religious currents in this land. The church is seen as a group primarily concerned about their Sunday membership, not about the idols that the nation’s leaders bow down to. Poverty is seen as an economic issue, not a spiritual or moral one. Inequality is seen as an inevitable result of human freedom, rather than seen as a denial and abandonment of the body of Christ.

Paul’s views were different. In his closing remarks to the house church at Corinth he says: “Keep alert, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.” [16:13, 14].

‘Keeping alert’ in this context has to do with reading those cultural, political, and religious currents swirling around the group of approximately 30 people who made up the house church. Those currents might easily sweep you away to a watery end. …

Posted by The Community of Saint Luke on Monday, July 13, 2015

Day 14

‘We are the aroma of Christ’ [2:15]

I have a love-hate relationship with flowers. They look beautiful, especially when lovingly arranged in churches. They complement the worship [for a large part of worship for me is the contemplation of beauty]. They add colour and fragrance.

And that’s the problem for me: fragrance. Especially at Springtime. Especially some flowers. Especially when I’ve been remiss in taking my hay-fever medication!

So, I never ‘smell the roses’. In fact I rarely smell anything. Maybe that’s the result of having stuffed sinuses for most of my childhood. Maybe I never really learnt to smell?

So, this intriguing verse about aroma jumped off the page and hit me on the snout. How do you smell like Christ? What does Christ smell like? …

Posted by The Community of Saint Luke on Monday, July 13, 2015

Day 15

Bill Loader introduces this passage by talking about “the groundswell criticism against Paul, and, as usually happens, people seem to have accumulated as much dirt as possible.” This included criticism of his physical and spiritual presence which allegedly was no match for his rivals as far as miracles, powerful speech, and high connections were concerned. Some saw him as a rather weak pathetic figure.

This passage is a snippet from Paul’s attempt to set things straight, and we can imagine some of the pain and tension behind the text. …

Posted by The Community of Saint Luke on Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Day 16

Every day it seems I’m reading about Greece – in the newspaper and in the Bible. I’m finding it hard to divorce these two contexts.

Paul in this reading today continues to try to encourage the house church in the large and important commercial city of Corinth to listen to his version of the good news of Jesus, rather than the version of other wandering preachers. I wonder what would persuade a member of that Grecian house church to listen to Paul rather than the others. And I wonder how successful he was. …

Posted by The Community of Saint Luke on Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Day 17

One of the myths that float around Christianity is that ‘in the beginning there was unity’. I suspect those who like this myth are the same people who want us to all think the same, all agree, and all agree with them.

Christianity is littered with examples of some believers trying to make other believers agree with them, by kind or cruel means. Even today Christian leaders seem to be better at arguing why they are right and others are wrong than building bridges across differences.

At the time Paul was writing in the mid-1st century there was not one understanding of Judaism. To quote Jacob Neusner, scholarship needs to “learn how to respect the plurality of Judaic religious systems and speak of Judaisms, not Judaism.” …

Posted by The Community of Saint Luke on Thursday, July 16, 2015

Day 18

It could be said that habits define us – good habits, and bad habits.

I suppose that’s what the Jesuits meant when they said “Give us a boy child for his first seven years and we’ll give you the man”. It was about trying to form good habits. …

Posted by The Community of Saint Luke on Friday, July 17, 2015

Day 19

I wonder
what would happen
if you dared to believe
that what you could offer
would be enough,
when blessed, broken, and given
to initiate a ripple of change
that would spread out,
be caught and repeated,
until the many are fed
and famine will never again
stalk the earth.
I wonder. …

Posted by The Community of Saint Luke on Saturday, July 18, 2015

Day 20

‘What’s the use of Philemon?’

This is a tough little ethical nugget.

There is this slave called Useful [Onesimus in Greek]. He runs away from his master called Philemon. Useful takes some of Philemon’s goods with him [I suspect Useful didn’t own anything].

Philemon becomes a Christian, and gets to know Paul – the itinerant preacher/encourager. After Useful’s escape he too becomes a Christian, and he too comes to know Paul. Paul is serving time in jail.

Paul then writes to Philemon about Useful, encouraging Philemon to receive him back – and says he, Paul, will pick up the tab for the stolen goods. …

Posted by The Community of Saint Luke on Monday, July 20, 2015

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