1 Corinthians 9-11

Is Paul saying that preachers shouldn’t be paid, that women should keep their heads covered when praying and men cannot have long hair?   It seems that way, doesn’t it?    Let’s take a closer look….
I certainly hope that Paul isn’t saying pastors shouldn’t be paid, and everyone who preaches should be willing to do it for free.   And in fact, when you read closely what he wrote, you find that Paul is actually saying the opposite.   He acknowledges that anyone who preaches and provides spiritual guidance should receive their income from the Church.   He simply goes on to say that he hasn’t ever taken the salary, simply because it’s his way of “suffering” for Christ.   The fact that he works and ministers is his way of offering one more gift to Jesus.    He readily acknowledges that not everyone should follow suit.    In this first chapter Paul mentions that the other apostles have wives, as does James the brother of Jesus.  (The apostle James was martyred already, this James is the head of the Jerusalem church).    Here’s a thought:   Paul was able to consider doing this because he didn’t have a wife or children.   The other men have families, and they needed to provide for them…but they also needed to spend some time with them as well.    I don’t think it would have been approved by God for them to work a job and minister AND try to raise a family….that’s if the church could afford to pay them, and I am sure that they could.
Paul also mentions today that he acted like the people he was around in order to win them to  Christ.   This is a bold move, because it opens the person to accusations of hypocrisy.    If I act one way around you and then differently around others….doesn’t that seem wrong in some way?    Okay, but wait a minute here…. Paul isn’t disagreeing with either group of people.   Hypocrisy is when I profess to believe in a particular way to please a specific group, and then change my mind with another group.    It’s a politician speaking about how dangerous guns are to the liberal audience, and then talking to the NRA crowd about how gun laws should be abolished.      Paul isn’t doing that.    He’s saying “I don’t have a problem with worshipping in either way, but I will do what you folks do so that it doesn’t become a distraction”.      Let’s put it in church terms.    Paul knows that he could listen to contemporary music and dance charismatically before the Lord.  And if he were with that crowd he would free himself to do just that.   No one would think anything of it.    But when Paul is with the more reserved part of the church that doesn’t do those things in worship, he refrains.   Simply because he knows that it would be a distraction.
Now, this passage isn’t talking about Paul’s worship style, it’s talking about what we eat, and where we go shopping, etc.
Apparently the church has questions about eating things that have been offered to idols previously.  On one hand, they can be purchased for less in the market (the priests (false priests)  have received them for free, so any contribution is profit).   On the other hand, are they contaminated spiritually, since they have been offered to idols?   Paul simply says “if you don’t know where they came from, go ahead and eat it…because it doesn’t matter if they offered it to an idol…idols are nothing, so they offered it to nothing.   On the other hand, if someone mentions where it came from, don’t eat it….not because of the meat, but because of the other person.   If your actions cause them to doubt your faith, that’s a more serious issue.”
Let me chime in with another thought here.    Paul isn’t willing to compromise the Gospel to placate any people group, he’s simply doing what he can WITHIN the faith to make it easier for others to believe.    And, Paul won’t allow those who try to control the narrative by saying “I’m too weak to accept what you are doing, so you have to do something else” to alter his course.   That would be called “the tyranny of the weak”….which is where someone demands that you not follow your course of action because of their weakness, or their inability to accept it.
Should women keep their heads covered?   Well, in Paul’s day….yes.   It goes back to what we were saying above.   Don’t become a distraction.   But today?  No one really cares how long your hair is…man or woman.   We have personal preferences, but we don’t make judgments anymore based on the length of your hair.    If you are hung up on this verse or this concept, might I suggest that you are “majoring on a minor issue” and should probably follow Paul’s example and adopt the styles of the people around you?    The length of your hair isn’t an indicator of your spirituality.
The topic of communion came up today.  It seems that selfishness had invaded the Lords supper which they celebrated together.   Apparently it was a little more involved than communion…because some people were drinking enough to get drunk.   I haven’t seen any communion cups that are large enough for that to happen.    I think they were eating large chunks of bread (meal size) and washing it down with goblets of wine, and calling it the Lord’s Supper.    I wonder why we don’t do the same?   I wonder what it would look like to make our Sunday lunch bread and juice, and we all eat it together, as much as you wanted?    We wouldn’t eat anything else for lunch on Sunday,  just the Lord’s Supper.         Ha!  That’s an interesting thought, right?