Sunday, August 23, 2009

Who's for dinner? (I Cor. 5)

This chapter develops a theme we'll read discussed at greater length in the next -- we should treat believers and unbelievers differently. Strangely enough, we should be MORE hospitable to those who do not share our faith!
1Co 5:10 Kuşkusuz dünyadaki ahlaksızları, açgözlüleri, soyguncuları ya da putperestleri demek istemedim. Öyle olsaydı, dünyadan ayrılmak zorunda kalırdınız!
1Co 5:11 Ama şimdi size şunu yazıyorum: Kardeş diye bilinirken fuhuş yapan, açgözlü, putperest, sövücü, ayyaş ya da soyguncu olanla arkadaşlık etmeyin, böyle biriyle yemek bile yemeyin.
1Co 5:12 İnanlılar topluluğunun dışındakileri yargılamaya benim ne hakkım var? Sizin de yargılamanız gereken kişiler topluluğun içindekiler değil mi?
A few words to look at:
  • Kuşkusuz -- undoubtedly. Certainly. (Kuşku -- doubt, + suz, without)
  • Kardeş -- brother
  • açgözlü -- Jealous. Envious.
  • putperest -- Idolater.
US Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas is an erudite man who prefers to express his opinions in writing. His gullah accent marks him as a child of the poor, black, South Carolina barrier islands. The gullah translation of the word envious is -- "da big eye." The Turkish word açgözlü combines aç- (open) + göz (eye) + lü (with). A frequent element of Turkish folk art is the bavul, a lovely ceramic charm against "the evil eye." Ayn Rand described an element of American culture as "the age of envy" -- the hatred of the beautiful for being beautiful, the hatred of the successful for being successful, of the rich for being rich. Unleashed envy, a beloved mentor wrote, does to a society what an earthquake does to a city. The industrial revolution of the West came only after a thousand years of preaching against the sin that made capital formation impossible, envy.

When we fear our neighbor's envy, we achieve less. Africans with rich crops will sneak into their fields at night and destroy part of the produce, rather than risk being envied, and put to death for being a witch. They "enjoy" subsistance during good times, famine during bad. Some Native American tribes had periodic "potlatches," ceremonies wherein the richest members would publically destroy most of their wealth. American small businessmen who are hearing themselves described as "the evil rich" are beginning to talk about "going Galt." Retrenching. Laying people off. Delaying efforts to expand their businesses, since the folks in power are promising confiscatory levels of taxation if they dare cross a certain threshold.

Well, envy is just one of many sins that we simply have to tolerate in our neighbors -- unless that neighbor professes to share our faith. It's a sin we dare not tolerate in ourselves, or in our fellow believers.

An American writer scathingly and hilariously mocked the socialist impulse in his book Eat the Rich.

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