The Corinthian church looks a little like the modern American (or anywhere else for that matter) church. The good news is that the church is full of people. The bad news is that the church is full of people. Human beings are broken, flawed and wayward creatures. One of my professors used to say "human beings are not rational animals they are animals that rationalize." When I read the Corinthian correspondence I am reminded that folks in the first century were no so different from us -- and 21st century arrogance aside -- we have not improved much over the past 2000 years.
Key issue in chapter 1: Divisions in the Church. The church has fallen into "party" factions based on which preacher they came to faith under (or were baptized by). There is the Paul party, the Apollos party, the Peter party (Cephas) and then the true posers who claim to be of the "Christ" party. From play grounds to board rooms from the athletic fields to the cooking channel, human beings are locked into a struggle. It is the game called "I'm better than you." In our pathetic struggles to be able to declare "we are number 1" even if it is vicarious through our local sports teams, we find ourselves divided. We are red or blue states, democrats or republicans, Orange or Blue, UB or Buff state, socialists or capitalists,all aligned divisions that keep the world from coming together.
Notice the biblical solution to this. It is the message of the Gospel: "but we proclaim Christ crucified," (23). At the heart of the Jesus movement is an understanding of the renunciation of tribalism and all inherent power. Jesus proves his love for us and redeems the world not by political means or creating a new faction (even those who are of the "Christ" party) but by embracing the horror of our humanity and in embracing it he redeems it through is death and resurrection. In the first century this was "foolishness" and a "stumbling block". The crucified were not discussed in the Roman Empire -- it was considered the most shameful of all deaths (which is why "Jesus scorned the shame" Hebrews 12:2). The Jews understood from the Hebrew Scriptures that "cursed is anyone who hangs on a tree (Deuteronomy 21:23)." Ours is not a faith of power to control but a faith of power to redeem, release, forgive and to heal. We have no reason to boast or to create a whole new "us versus them" mentality because what was done was done for us and not by us -- it is a gift from God, and not something we did by ourselves.