Little wonder, in light of the accumulation of worldliness in Corinth, that one commentator likens this city to “at once the New York, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas of the ancient world”! And another finds Paul’s principles in addressing the Corinthian church as a paradigm for how to do urban ministry in the modern world. (Bloomberg)
Tomorrow I will be tackling the second section in 1 Corinthians, as I preach, at the church I attend here in Prague, Faith Community, and I have been getting my nerd on all week studying! Thursday as I met with my pastor, Phil, I told him, “The more I study this book, the more I fall in love with it and how it lays a model for doing ministry in OUR urban context of Prague.” As I’ve studied and had my noes in my Bible, journal, Logos and commentaries it would seem that people far smarter than me would agree. Tomorrow, I will be speaking from 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:16, which is a hefty section, and I’ve had to sift through a lot of information and plead that God would direct me to what to zero in on. With that being said, He should up and has provided some much needed clarity in the midst of all of it.
One of the things I’ve found most intriguing about the background of Corinth, is how it has some parallels with the Prague I love. NOTE: I think most major urban centers parallel Corinth, thus it being a perfect manual of sorts for Urban Ministry, but here is my spin on the parallels.
– Crossroads – Corinth had a port and was the go-between when it came to shipping and trading. Prague, look at a map of Europe. What is the most centralized city – Prague. Prague has been, and will be, a crossroads between Eastern and Western Europe.
– Both cities and cultures have a reputation for sexual immorality. A â€œCorinthian Girlâ€ was a the phrase used when discussing a loose woman. (Not to mention, the temple that supposedly housed 1,000 temple prostitutes.) It has been written about and studies show that Czechs have a very laid back attitude about adultery, sex in general, the sex industry and etc. It could be said that both cultures celebrate a Hedonistic or Bohemian Lifestyle.
– Strong Arts communities – Czechs have always had a great appreciation and natural pride for their artists.
– Greek Ideals â€“ Individualism, Equality, freedom, & distrust of authority. Um, yeah lots of places hold to these ideals but I would say it hits Prague right on the head.
– Corruption – people in Corinth used their wealth, standing and etc. to leverage for position in sketchy ways, even in the church! Similarly, in post-communist Prague there have been obvious cases of corruption from government to business to sports to culture as a whole.
– Pagan Religions – Obviously in discussing Corinth this is without question, but Prague (and Czech at large) still have undertones of their pre-Christian pagan heritage. You can see this in their reverence for “the nature”, eastern religions (there are new ads for a large meditation conf. all over the city right now), and old pagan traditions that have been absorbed into the larger culture.
– Corinth was demolished and resettled with almost completely freedman (former slaves), which brought a form of equality or egalitarianism that was highly valued in Corinth. Prague, and Czech, lost it’s upper class after Battle of BÃlÃ¡ Hora, thus putting people living Prague, and the country, on level ground with no class distinction, thus equality or egalitarianism was (is) highly valued in Prague and beyond.
– Well educated people.
– Perhaps an inflated view of themselves – the Corinthians saw themselves as the superior city in ancient Greece for many reasons, which compares to the Czech idea that they are the cream of the crop of the Slavic people who live throughout Europe.
– Both cities were/are in the process of transitioning from a large city to a â€œ1st Class Urban Center.â€
That is my spin on it and it really makes me want to dig deep in this book and see what God is telling me, us as an AIA movement, us as a missional church and the church at large about how to reach this emerging world class urban center that is Prague. Oh yeah, I noted earlier in the week my excitement about the alpha test of Logos for Macs, it has been a blast using this tool to study once again, here is a screen shot!
Nice… Off to put some finishing touches on the notes. Have a revolutionary weekend!