Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Build Up

"If I do not know the meaning of the language, I will be a foreigner to the speaker and the speaker a foreigner to me. So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church." 1 Corinthians 14: 11-12

Two thoughts:

First: I know this is primarily talking about the value of speaking in tongues versus prophesying, but I think there is a broader principle illustrated here: It is important to God that we have fellowship or "connection with one another and in order to have fellowship you have to be able to understand each other. This can apply literally to language but I think it also applies to those who seem to "speak a different language" (think of the last time someone tried to explain something to you in "techie" or gushed over a particular song or book that you hated).

This is written to the church so does it have any application to how we talk to people who don't consider themselves Christian?

Second: Striving to building up the church is a manifestation of the Spirit! I don't want to be guilty of taking this out of context, the verses before and after this one are talking specifically about prophesy and there is some pretty widespread "dogma" about prophesy. But can we think broadly and conceptually for a minute rather than relying on some inherited understanding of "spiritual gifts"?

I love theology, I promise. But sometimes our theology can get so systematic that it stops making sense. It gets so rigid that it stops being useful for most "real" situations in which we find ourselves. So forget Spiritual Gifts 101 for a moment and think about what it means that God prefers a gift that builds up the whole.

What does this mean about how we view one another? we view particular ministries? we choose to spend our time? we choose to express love?

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