Monday, November 5, 2012

1 Corinthians, Chapters 11 & 12: Was Jesus' long hair shameful?

Chapter 11

Paul informs us that we should follow his teachings. Then he teaches us the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man (v. 3). Which only works so long as your man isn't a serial killer, or a drug addict, or a politician. Then you're on your own, ladies. Next we're told that men shouldn't cover their heads in church, but women should, because otherwise it's the same as being shaved. Women can work around this by cutting their hair, but it's shameful. The reasoning for all this is a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. (v. 7) Gross. Also, men don't need women, but women need men, and women were created for men. However, we're not independent as women are still needed for their reproductive function. 

Some rhetorical questions about tonsorial fashion: first, do we think it's appropriate for uncovered women to pray in public? Second, is long hair on a dude shameful? I guess he's never seen a picture of Jesus Third, doesn't long hair make a woman attractive? If you don't like those rules, tough luck for you, it's tradition and Paul is sticking to it. 

After 17 verses, Paul gets off the subject of hair and moves on to church gossip. This congregation hasn't been getting along so well, and their communal eating has become a mockery, with no one sharing and some going home hungry while others just come for a piss-up. He reminds them about Jesus' instructions to eat his body and drink his blood, and tells them anyone who partakes of the sacrament but isn't worthy is sinning and is going to hell. That's why some of them have got sick and died. Not because they lacked antibiotics or proper sanitation, no. Finally, if you're really hungry, eat at home, because you should share at church.

Chapter 12

Paul now wants to talk to us about what powers the holy spirit can and cannot imbue us with, because this congregation was full of pagans until recently, so they may not know all the ins and outs quite properly yet. 

First, the holy spirit would never, ever, make anyone under its influence curse Jesus, but nor would it make them say he's the lord. 

It does bring other gifts, and requires other services, and god has different ways of working through all of us. We all have a gift, which contributes to the common good. One may be wise, another may have special knowledge, though again, not of epidemiology or sanitation engineering. Some people are faithful, which doesn't seem like much of a gift, and others have healing powers, though not in any useful form. Other people can do miracles, while some can prophesy. Others can talk to the spirit world, while still others can speak in tongues and others can interpret what they say. This is because we're all one body and god has given us gifts that compliment each other and are needed in the church. He promises to show us a most excellent way of living in his next chapter.   

No comments:

Post a Comment