That time the Apostle Paul talked about unpresentable parts

15 Aug

I really think there was a twinkle in his eye.  He wasn’t there when they read the letter, so I have to imagine that twinkle, and the corners of his mouth turning up as he grinned to himself thinking about when they would read this. They would get the letter, gather the group of followers of Jesus together in the house where they would meet and some would read it out loud.

Were there snickers among the group when the reader got to this part?

“[T]hose parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment.”

Maybe I’m reading too much into it.  But with all the possible analogies in this life Paul could have used, he chose that one, and I for one find it humorous.  More importantly, Paul’s image of the church as the body of Christ is filled with images of unity in diversity.body-of-christ

As we think about that group of people we call our local church or our home church, would you say that yours is filled with diversity?  Faith Church has loads of it.  Not just the obvious differences like gender and generations, but also personality types, stations in life, experiences, and perspectives.  We are human. So alike, and yet so unique.  In the church we also see diversity in the varied spiritual gifts.

Because ours is a culture of celebrity, we love to put people with certain looks and talents in the place of honor.  Even though those celebrities are human just like the rest of us, we can start to believe that they are better.  They’re really not, but we treat them that way.  This is a widespread tendency in our world, and it goes on in the church.  We talked about a version of this in the beginning of the 1st Corinthians series when people were taking sides by aligning themselves with BNPs…Big Name Preachers.  Now Paul is talking about how people in the church of Corinth are elevating people with certain gifts.

Some of the spiritual gifts are very visible.  The pastor is front and center, especially by preaching the sermon every week.  This is similar to the worship leader or the teacher.  Then there are the gifts of tongues and prophecy which are very attention-getting.  In Corinth it seems the tongues-speakers and prophesiers were placing themselves in the limelight during worship gatherings.

Are people with certain gifts better?  Are certain gifts better?  And how does talking about unpresentable parts help us answer these questions?

Join us Sunday at Faith Church, 9:30am, as we discuss this further!  In the meantime read 1 Cor. 12:12-31, the passage we’ll be studying, to get further acquainted with what Paul was thinking.

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