There is much we can learn from these passages this morning. Confirmation that Paul was a tent maker and would often work at this trade when he was in a city preaching and converting people to the Way of Jesus Christ. We hear that Paul was perhaps not always on top of all the details of his communities, and maybe that’s because he founded so many Christian communities. He struggles here to remember just who he baptised whilst in Corinth, but emphasises that he was sent to proclaim the gospel of Christ not to baptise.
Paul’s main concern here is that there be no division amongst the believers in Corinth and that they all be in agreement. Now, I’m sorry, but when have we all been in agreement? When have we all been of the same mind? The times are probably few and far between, but this is where Paul would want the people to be. it makes me wonder about church in Paul’s time. Did Paul actually think unity was possible?
I actually think that the church is one place where there is always disunity. I think our challenge is how do we live with divided minds, divided people, people with divergent purposes and seemingly different goals? The Uniting Church values its differences, allowing for its different theologies, ethnic groups and different expressions of church. It values the input of all of its members, and yes we can get a bit exasperated when someone doesn’t see things our way, but hopefully we can listen with respect and not get into toxic arguments.
I read a comment about conflict which makes me stop and think. “Conflict is where the magic happens. Conflict brings the energy to build solutions. Conflict (that which is not toxic) is where creativity, cooperation and collaboration happens.” (Rev Lia Scholl, Baptist Pastor in North Carolina USA).
This is where I want to sit with this passage. Conflict or not being of the same mind can challenge and encourage us to be creative and collaborative.