You’re So Immature…
When I was in high school, one of the phrases often heard, particularly from girls, was “You’re so immature…” It was, of course, intended to be cutting and dismissive. This made boys want to prove their maturity, which was typically done with some even more immature gesture. We all want to be thought of as mature and wise — as adults.
When Paul wrote to the Corinthians, he called them babies. “I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for solid food.” (1 Corinthians 3:2, click here for the full passage.) I suspect that Paul wanted them to respond by working at maturity. What he likely got was probably more akin to: “I am, too, ready for solid food!” But as evidence of their immaturity, he quickly points to their propensity to divide themselves up.
“One says, ‘I belong to Paul,’ and another, ‘I belong to Apollos.'” Don’t we still have the same tendency? We divide up by who we like or don’t like, who dresses in the way we do, or shares our politics, or our theology, or taste in church music, or whatever. But Paul wants us to see that the mature in Christ, those who are ready for meat, do not need to divide themselves up. The mature are confident in Christ and are no longer threatened by the things that can so easily separate us. And, if we are truthful, isn’t the reason we create so many divisions is the need to satisfy ourselves that we are smarter, better, more sophisticated — right. So we try to make others out to be foolish, misguided and wrong.
It can be hard work to maintain love and openness with those we find different than ourselves. But if we do not do that hard work, we cannot claim to be the Body of Christ.
This column appeared in the February 16, 2020 edition of St. John’s eNews. Click here for the complete issue.
If you are reading this at a different time, you may click here for the current eNews.