Unity and Diversity

April 17, 2015

“For in fact the body is not one member but many.”   (1Corinthians 12:14)

Chapter 12 of First Corinthians is the greatest Scripture in the New Testament about the way a church is to function.  After the Apostle Paul uses the words diversity and oneness several times, he brings these two opposite concepts together in his inspired metaphor that the Church is to function as a body.

He writes that it is not either/or but both/and: diversity should be celebrated rather than resolved.  As diverse members of the body of Christ come together to have a ministry there are different types of people: let it happen people, make it happen people, don’t know what’s happening people, and don’t know anything is supposed to be happening people.

Let it happen people desperately need make it happen people.  And the other two kinds of people obviously need these first two kinds of people.  The truth is they all need each other to function as a team, a body, and a Church. There are Mary and Martha kinds of people who both need each other.  Often, Marthas do not appreciate Marys because they think they are unorganized. But Marys need Marthas and Marthas need to realize that if it were not for Marys there would not be anything to organize.

Are you fitting in with those kinds of people who have what you do not have and sharing with them what you have that they do not have?

When we experience unity while celebrating diversity we do not have uniformity but a supernatural community that is in reality the body of our risen and living Lord Jesus Christ.

Dick Woodward, 25 June 2013


Celebrating Diversity

April 14, 2015

“If the whole body were an eye where would the sense of hearing be?”  (1Corinthians 12:17)

There’s a story about a doctor who came out of the delivery room to tell an expectant father: “I have some grave news for you.  Your wife has given birth to a 7-pound eyeball.”  After pausing a moment he added: “And that’s not all. It’s blind!”

If you came home one night in the dark to find a 185 pound eyeball in the corner of your front porch, would that give you a rush of anxiety?

In this verse from First Corinthians the Apostle Paul uses an illustration just as grotesque as the illustrations I just used.  He does this in his inspired letter to the Corinthians because he wants to make a point: the beauty of diversity.

One of the fingerprints of the Church of Jesus Christ is that in the Church we celebrate diversity.  Diversity in the body of Christ is to be celebrated rather than resolved.  If two of us are exactly alike one of us is unnecessary.  Some of the members of the First Church of Corinth were telling others they were not authentically spiritual unless they had the exact same spiritual gifts.

Paul remedied that kind of thinking with the hideous metaphor of a body being just one member and not a body with the beauty of many diverse parts.  Other members of the body of Christ have what you do not have and you have what they do not have.  That means you need them and they need you.

The body of Christ is a team sport.  Are you willing to be a team player?

Step up and play your part.

Dick Woodward, 05 February 2013