Saturday, September 09, 2006

High Anxiety

OK, so Christians aren't supposed to have any anxiety. Our Sunday School teachers, our pastors, our mentors, not to mention insensitive busybodies, have all quoted that verse "Don't be anxious about anything, but pray about everything" (or however their translations put it). Well, somebody had better tell the Apostle Paul, because in today's reading I find this:
And apart from other things there is the constant pressure every day of my anxiety for all the churches.
2 Corinthians 11.28
OK, so the NIV says "concern", but the version I memorized (and I'm not sure I got it right - RSV or NAS maybe) has "anxiety."

So what's going on? Paul is telling them in this paragraph about what he is doing for the church - not just the Corinthians but church congregations elsewhere as well. This is where he talks about being beaten, stoned, shipwrecked, etc.

Why does he do this? He wants the Corinthians to understand how much he is for them, to show that he really is an apostle, not an Elmer Gantry or a Jim Bakker (to mix genres).

But back to anxiety or concern. Paul goes on in verse 29: Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant? Many of us today would call Paul "co-dependent" or "enmeshed" or some word like that. But would we be right? Does Paul care too much?

You can probably guess my answer: that it is rather we, in 21st century North America, who have gone off the rails and are way too individualistic. I'll say more about this when we get to Galatians.

posted from Japan, 6:18am Sunday Sept 10... the first time I'm ahead of schedule, and it's only because of the timezone

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