Today’s Chocolate: Endangered Species Dark Chocolate with Forest Mint
Today’s Passage: 2 Corinthians 6
Incredibly long sentences are among Paul’s specialties. The first seven verses of Ephesians 2 are one example, and today’s chapter contains another one. From the start of 2 Corinthians 6 all the way through verse ten, that’s one sentence. And then Paul says: “Our mouth has spoken freely to you, O Corinthians, our heart is opened wide” (11). No kidding.
I get the feeling that Paul’s words are flowing freely in this letter. I’m not much of a touchy-feely guy, and when Paul’s reasoning or logically arguing a point, I can at least analyze him. The past couple chapters have had their theological content, but it’s been presented in an intimate way, and it makes me feel just a little uncomfortable. But that’s the tone you get when the early church fathers decide to include personal letters to churches in the canon. Nobody said it’d be easy to write about.
It’s obvious Paul cares a lot about the Corinthian church. I wonder if he ever expected his letters to get included in the same collection of books that he keeps quoting from–if he ever thought they’d receive the stamp of “divinely inspired” from future church leaders. How would he feel to discover the way we’ve come to look at his letters?
Particularly, the section stands out to me where Paul encourages the Corinthians to prioritize relationships within the church over those outside. He writes: “Now in a like exchange—I speak as to children—open wide to us also. Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?” (13-14) Did Paul ever expect this statement to be put into books whose text is publicly available to millions of people? Did he intend to keep it within the church? I expect I’ve got a few non-christian readers here from among my friends. How does that verse read to you?
I don’t know what to say. To my non-christian friends: I’m sorry if I seem guarded around you. It’s because I am. To be fair, I’m pretty guarded around a lot of Christians, too. If the Corinthian church was, as Paul put it, “restrained in [their] own affections” (12), I can sympathize. It’s hard to trust.