February 3, 2009


I defy you to find a more schizophrenic half verse of scripture than 1 Cor 9.22b.

"I became all things to all people, so that by all means I might save some."

In late modernity America with its fascination with the (mostly false) liberal/conservative divide I can just imagine hearing this preached one of two ways.

"Liberal" preachers say, "we must be all things to all people; so [insert traditional sin/doctrine here] must be reevaluated..."

"Conservative" preachers say, "we must 'save' everyone..."

Clearly, both are terrible interpretations of what Paul was actually saying to the church in Corinth. Both are reason enough to make it a rule that one should never, ever, preach a sermon based soley on one half of a verse of Paul (I hesitate to make it a more universal rule as the OT has some pretty sweet one-liners).

Rob Bell in his new book, Jesus Wants to Save Christians, says that the most powerful sermon that could ever be preached is two words, "me too." While Paul is notoriously wordy, he is essentially saying the same thing, "me too." I have been weak. I have been under the law. I have been made free from the law. I have been in all sorts of situations, and so I can sit with you in yours and say, "me too," while I share with you the hope that is within me. By doing so, maybe, just maybe, I can save you from the loneliness that is so common in the human condition. Maybe I can save you from hopelessness. Maybe I can save you from despair. Maybe I can save you from writing God off in the midst of tough times, in the midst of good times, in the midst of the everyday.

No comments: