Wednesday, October 24, 2012

1 Corinthians, Chapters 9 & 10: Paul is a 47 percenter

Chapter 9

Paul reminds us that he was an apostle and in a nifty bit of historical revisionism, saw Jesus.  I suppose it's possible, given that their lives overlapped. Then he argues that he and Barnabas shouldn't have to work, given that soldiers don't start wars and people eat the things they grow. Clearly, they're Democrats. After all, Mosaic law specifies that you have to feed your oxen, so the congregation should feed him. Also, temple workers get fed by their temples. Except that Paul isn't a Jew anymore, so why that rule applies is beyond me. I mean, you're in or out, no cherry-picking the bits you like.

Oh, but Paul isn't writing to assert any of these entitlements. He's doing it because he must. He admits that he fakes being a member of whatever community he's living in, to the point where he'll follow Jewish law if he's in a Jewish neighbourhood, or he'll act like a gentile when he's among them. But it's all for a good cause, so it's fine.

Chapter 10

Paul dwells on Moses for a bit, reminding his audience about Moses parting the Red Sea, but how most of them displeased god, so he punished them, to the tune of 23 000 deaths in a single day. So no fornicating, because the end is nigh.

He reminds us not to be tempted, and to take communion, because it makes them all one flesh. This is not to say that all sacrifices are to real gods, no sir. When gentiles make sacrifices, it's to the devil. So you need to choose: in our out. Just like Paul himself, when he says he should be paid just like a Jewish temple worker. He tells us that anything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial, and we should think about others.

You can eat anything the butcher sells, and eat everything that's put on your plate, even brussels sprouts, but try not to offend others with your cooking.

No comments:

Post a Comment