Daily Gleanings (29 April 2019)

The content of the Lead to Win podcast is somewhat slanted toward entrepreneurs and other business leaders. But the content is often directly applicable to life in the academy.

In that vein, they’ve had two episodes recently with some good advice on the topic of increasing focus and avoiding distraction:

I’ve lately been reading a good deal that I hadn’t yet from Jerome Murphy-O’Connor. Much as I’ve previously appreciated his scholarship, my gratitude for his careful, detailed reflection has only grown.

Among some of these reflections I’ve recently worked through are the following comments:

In both [1 Cor 6:15 and 8:12] ‘Christ’ is predicated, not of the historical Jesus, but also of the Christian community. This is unambiguous in 1 Cor 8:12 where ‘brethren’ and ‘Christ’ are interchangeable. It is also clear in ‘For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so also is Christ’ (1 Cor 12:12). ‘Christ’ here can only mean the corporate body of Christ. Once this is recognized, the interpretation of many other texts is greatly simplified. ‘To be baptized into Christ’ (Gal 3:27; Rom 6:3) means to undergo the rite of initiation into the believing community.1

Murphy-O’Connor consistently resists any “mystical” undercurrent here. So he interprets “being [in] Christ” as simply Paul’s way of saying “being a Christian.”

I’m less persuaded that how Paul conceives of the incorporative role of the Messiah can ultimately be reduced simply to the kind of community membership that one might experience in a local rotary club. But Murphy-O’Connor’s caution is well taken.

On the possibility of more theologically loaded readings of this concept, see “The Christ of His Christ.”

  1. From the post-script added to his essay “Corinthian Slogans in 6:12–20” as republished in Keys Keys to First Corinthians: Revisiting the Major Issues (OUP, 2009), 28; italics original. 

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