Oct 19, 2012

the foolishness of wisdom

This is the second post in a six part series that will run for the next three months. It is based on the book of 1 Corinthians, and posts will appear here and on A Deeper Church. You can read the first post in this series here.

For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.”

Imagine a city full of people driven by success, driven by money, always striving to be the best, to one-up their neighbor and their co-worker, always wanting to be at the forefront of the next cultural movement or moment.

Now imagine learning about Jesus. Imagine learning that people could live together in community and have everything in common. Imagine learning that wisdom didn’t come from worldly knowledge, but instead from a man crucified on a Roman cross.

I don’t have to imagine too hard because mostly this sounds like where I live. No, I don’t worry about whether or not the meat in my hamburger was sacrificed to idols first. But that whole relativist, subjective truth, anything goes just so long as it doesn’t rain on my parade cultural attitude sure feels familiar.

We have been given not the wisdom of this age, but wisdom from God. Not so that we may flaunt our knowledge and impress each other with what we know, but so that we may grow in our understanding of the Gospel. So that we may grow mature in our faith. So that we may grow in our ability to mirror him, to image him.

But the wisdom of this age is tempting. It is popular. It is easy.

And the wisdom of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing.

And if we are honest, if I am honest, doesn’t it occasionally feel foolish to us, to me, as well?

Because Christ crucified and raised from the dead is all well and good if you were John and you saw him die and you saw him alive and you saw him ascend. But what about us? What about two thousand years later? Where are our miraculous signs and wisdom?

We fear we lack them, so we either stand on soapboxes and hope we yell louder than those who would oppose us so we don’t have to engage with the questions they raise. Or, like the Corinthians, we slip off to the sidelines and hope someone else dukes it out for us while we try to fit in. We say, “I’m not really into theology, I just love Jesus, but whatever you love is cool too” and we hope that no one presses us about what it means when we say we love Jesus.

But friends, brothers and sisters, we have been given the miracle of the resurrection which, yes, we take on faith, and we have been given the wisdom of the cross which is supposed to look foolish. But it is only foolish from the surface. It is only foolish when we look at it from a worldly perspective. Let us not be afraid to steep ourselves in the wisdom of the cross, to enter fully into the wisdom of the Gospel. For it is when we are in Christ, when we are living out his Gospel, that we come to understand the wisdom of Christ crucified and raised for sinners like us.

Oct 5, 2012

New York + Las Vegas + Los Angeles = Corinth

This is the first in a five part series that will run for the next three months. It is based on the book of 1 Corinthians, and posts will appear A Deeper Church and here, on my personal blog. It has been said that if you combined modern day New York, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles you would end up with something like Corinth in the time of the Apostle Paul.* A city marked by the hustle and bustle of ships in the harbor and merchants traversing overland trade routes. By the temples and idols and the people who called those steps their office and those statues their gods. By the one-upmanship that colored their philosophical discussions and their drive to reach the next rung on the social and economic ladders. You can read the rest of the post over on A Deeper Church.