Dear Corinth,

Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sosthenes,

To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge—even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you—so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord (1 Corinthians 1:1-9).

This is how Paul begins his letter to the Corinthian church. He greets them, calling them sanctified in Jesus, and then thanks God for his brothers and sisters in the city of Corinth. This letter is coated in the love that Paul has for this church; yet, this church is not perfect. And though Paul loves them, he also addresses some serious issues that this church is struggling with, and corrects them. Continue reading

Greed and Skeksis

In Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal, an alien race known as the Fallen urSkeks are banished to the world of Thra. In an attempt to purify themselves, they try to use the heart of Thra, the Crystal of Truth, to cleanse themselves of their darker nature. Instead, each urSkek is split into two beings, the Mystics and the Skeksis.

While the Mystics embody the urSkek’s spiritual and peaceful side of their nature, the Skeksis embody their materialistic and violent side. The putrid creatures represent the very nature of greed itself. They hoard treasures for themselves, use the natives of Thra to fulfill their own pleasures, gluttonize upon the produce of their subjects, and defile the Crystal, draining its energy to extend their own life-forces. They trade the health of Thra and her creatures for their own. And when the Crystal is no longer enough, they then use it to drain the essence of Thra’s children, feasting upon Gelflings and Podlings like fattened cattle. The Skeksis only see Thra and her children as things to be used for themselves, easily casting them aside when they can no longer satisfy. And yet, the appetites of the Skeksis are never satisfied, for they crave more and more. Continue reading

For the Gospel

Bondservants are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior (Titus 2:9-10).

Paul wrote these very words to one of his friends and disciples in one of his letters, to Titus. In what we call chapter two of his prose, Paul is describing what the Christian household should look like. That older men should be: sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness (Titus 2:1-2). That older women should be: reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled (Titus 2:3-5). And that younger men need to be: self-controlled (Titus 2:6). Paul instructs the household to live a Christian lifestyle, so that their very lives reflect Christ, so that their witnessing may not be obstructed by hypocrisy. He then instructs the last member of the household to: be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior. Continue reading