News, Connections and Photos from the life of the faith community at CAPC Oakland
Living a life with, of from, faith can be a very difficult thing these days. Like in all human civilizations, assumptions are quickly made about us if we claim to be Christian, Presbyterian, Protestant, evangelical or progressive. The 20th century Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (often known as one of the fathers of Postmodernism) equated Christianity with weakness. In his famous, The Antichrist he wrote,
“What is good? – All that heightens the feeling of power, the will to power, power itself in man. What is bad? – All the proceeds from weakness. What is happiness? The feeling that power increases – that a resistance is overcome…The weak and ill-constituted shall perish: first principle of our philanthropy. And one shall help them to do so. What is more harmful than any vice? – Active sympathy for the ill-constituted and weak – Christianity…”
Many in the wester world today, would agree with him – that the “Will to Power” is the most important ethic.
Within the Christian view of life we can hear many worldviews –The apostle Paul, who is the one who most theologically shaped what we understand as the interpretation of the gospel of Jesus, doesn’t believe in either | ors, or in such dissonance. For him faith is in the midst of, despite, and greater than suffering. Or more correctly put, the God that Jesus reveals, is in the midst of, despite, and greater than any suffering we can know.
Paul writes 2 Corinthians at least a year after he wrote his previous pastoral letter to the church in Corinth (which we call 1 Corinthians). Between the writings of these letters (probably in 44-45), something has happened. Previously Paul wrote to admonishing them to be reconciled among themselves, no matter if they came from a Jewish or Pagan (non-Jewish) background. But here he writes to reconcile the church community and himself. Most likely he has been criticized by visiting preachers, who look down upon Paul as illegitimate as an apostle because of his background, speaking ability, or life story. Using literary rhetoric of that time and culture, Paul exposes them as the truly bogus ones, lifting his life as a paradoxical living parable of the way in which God’s power is glimpsed and revealed in our weakness – specifically his. To get a larger vision of his eloquent argument and writing read 2 Corinthians 11:1-12:10.
Questions for reflection: