1 Corinthians 1:10-18
· Mainstay of modern culture
· Our wallets and purses are full of various cards
· Some cards tell others who we are - driver's license
· Some cards tell upon what we depend - insurance
· Some cards tell what organizations we belong to - auto club, library, alumni association
· Some cards tell who we belong to - credit cards
· Some of us belong to MasterCard, Visa, or American Express in more significant ways than others
· Cards a clue to our identity
· A group of us students went to the movies together
· First thing one of us did was reach for his Austin Seminary ID card
· Was this an evangelistic identification with the faithful of the seminary community, or simply trying to save a couple of bucks on the ticket?
· I'll let you draw your own conclusion
· The identity we would claim matters
· As I read this text, I'm curious about identities
· Paul begins his "letter" to the church in Corinth by giving thanks for the way those folks have been enriched through Christ Jesus, for the fact that in the Corinth church they are not lacking in any spiritual gift
· But by verse 10, there's trouble
· Paul's appeal is for no divisions, no schisms; that they be in agreement, of the same mind and purpose, united
· Probably doesn't make this appeal unless there is division
· Sure enough, we hear that there has been some quarreling, some strife
· Several different factions exist
· How does Paul know?
· Chloe tells him
· Either Chloe or members of her household air this dirty laundry to Paul
· But then that's all we hear about her - no further details about the nature of the quarrel, the steps she and/or her people might have taken to first settle the dispute, the response she might have received
· No further clues about her identity - not simply who she was, but who she allied herself with, why she did what she did
· Is this because Paul's audience was undoubtedly already familiar with these details or because it's just not that important
· I'm curious about that
· I'm curious about the identity of the quarrelers
· Not simply who they were - driver's license information - but why they were quarrelling, who they were allied with
· Followers of Apollos? Cephas? They text does not expand further than this on their identity
· Because Paul's' audience was familiar with their identity, or because it doesn't matter that much?
· We have all these other names - Crispos, Gaios, Stephanus - but there is little in the text about their identity
· Who are they?
· What groups do they belong to?
· Who do they belong to?
· When Paul makes identifying statements, he seems to make them in terms of baptism
· "Some of you (or each of you, depending on translation) have claimed an "identity"
· I belong to Apollos
· I belong to Cephas
· I belong to Paul
· I was not crucified for you
· Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
· Is that your identity?
· It's a good thing I didn't baptize any of you myself, except for maybe Crispus or Gaius, so that none of you are running around claiming identity in me
· My commission is not to baptize but to proclaim the gospel
· Christ on the cross
· That's where your identity resides"
· Paul makes these statements that seem to have something to do with identity
· Were you baptized in the name of Paul? The question demands a "no, of course not"
· Who, then
· Whose name were we baptized into?
· Whose identity shall we claim?
· Those same identity questions come back
· Who we are
· Where we reside
· What organizations we belong to
· More specifically, who we belong to
· Paul admonishes us to belong to Christ
· That is a group identity, not some piecemeal parceling out of Christ to different divisions of an "organization"
· Not merely an intellectual enterprise, a function of human wisdom
· This empties the cross of its power
· This identity is different, and it looks silly to the rest of the world
· What kind of identity is that? Who in their right mind would choose to make their address a cross?
· Well, nobody I suppose
· But maybe this isn't about "right minds," at least as the world sees it
· It's about the message of the cross
· What is that message?
· Message of identity
· Before we make our claim, Christ makes his
· Before we identify ourselves, Christ identifies himself
· Before we can seek to unify ourselves
· Heal our divisions
· Overcome our differences
· Christ unifies us under this rubric of "those being saved" by what happens at and through the cross
· At the cross, Christ has already established our one true identity
· That's crazy to those [of us] who want to do it themselves
· By the cards they carry
· The organizations they belong to
· The factions they support
· But to those of us who are constantly trying to relocate
· Make our address match Christ's
· Acknowledge the power of the cross
· It's the power of God
· Most of us, when asked to identify ourselves, respond with something decidedly individual, i.e. name, address, number, e-mail…
· What if we all first identified ourselves from the same perspective
· "Who are you?" - "I'm baptized in the name of Christ."