Paul’s Cruciform Spirituality
Michael Downey holds that, “The human spirit is that which is drawn to unfathomable mystery, to which believers call God. And this capacity to be pulled and drawn into mystery abides within each and every human being… Each one is spiritual insofar as each one is, by nature, drawn to mystery”(Downey, 1997, p. 33). Paul’s boundless mystery is the presence of God that was made embodied by the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. His cruciform spirituality is demonstrated throughout his letters to new Christian communities. Most of his letters include at least one message in which Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection are the foundation. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians and his Letter to the Philippians both exhibit his cruciform spirituality. Paul addresses problems within the Corinthian community and responds to them using the Christ event as the foundation of his message. In his Letter to the Philippians, he emphasizes his cruciform spirituality by encouraging the new Christians in the community to live a life a Jesus had. Paul’s cruciform spirituality can be seen throughout his First Letter to the Corinthians. While addressing the multitude of problems within the Corinthian community, he puts on emphasis of the Christ event in order to convey his messages. First, when he is addressing divisions within the community, he puts an emphasis on weakness and foolishness. Paul argues that the Christ event provides an image of weakness and foolishness because Jesus died on the cross, but God raised him from the dead, so there is a deeper power involved. Paul holds that the cross puts under judgment all human ways of looking at things because Jesus was resurrected from the dead. Next, Paul challenges the Corinthian community to look at their own spirituality and what they value as their ultimate concerns. They value eloquence, worldly wisdom, power, and social prestige. Paul holds that the community is bound to be...
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