Here’s a summary of another idea for a chapter in my book about Bible What-Ifs.
In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, he gives us some insights that I respectfully would like to challenge. Yes, I have my issues with Saint Paul, as do many women, but I’d like to learn as much as I possibly can from him.
When we look at the King James Version, in Chapter 11, Verse 1, we are told to be followers of Christ. We have all heard this many, many times. We try our best every single day to do so. But when we look at other Bible versions and other translations, we see a different command. The Amplified Bible, and others, tell us that Paul said: “imitate me, just as I imitate Christ”. Same thing? No way!
Babies learn to walk and to talk through the process of imitation. When interacting with infants, we find that they study their adult subject’s facial expressions, sounds, and other movements. They are observing reactiveness, tone, and other mannerisms. Then they do their very best to imitate, through a purely instinctive process.
As children we played “pretend”. We were free and could decide who we wanted to imitate at that moment…superhero, police officer, teacher, parent, actor, magician, etc. There was no limit to the choices we could make. We learned, as infants do, by imitating and role-playing. When did we stop doing this? Why?
Later on in this exact same letter, Paul writes: “…but when I became a man, I put away childish things”. What childish things did he mean by this….specifically…at the moment he was writing this.? Was he thinking back to a time when he was a carefree child, playing outdoors, role-playing with friends, pretending? Had he forgotten the joy of learning through imitation? Had he ever been allowed to play freely, and experience learning by experimentation? These are the questions I will address over the next few days, and then post the full paper. Final thoughts: Matthew 18:4, in the red letters. “Whosoever shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” You’ll see more about that.
Stay tuned…and think about it!
Saint Paul –as with many of the writings / authors / presumed writers of the Bible–writes some things that might resonate with us –and some that don’t—I believe we’re best off taking the sum of what is written, and determine what speaks to each of us individually …it also helps me to remember that these books were written in a very different time and through the influences of several cultures…..what Paul writes about “the armor of God” in Ephisians for instance speaks far more directly to my heart than many of his other writings…and John’s Gospels tend to resonate with me in a more profound way…but we can take something from all…..I agree with you that Paul’s emphasis in this reading about “imitation” –and particularly his reference to putting away the ways of children doesn’t resonate with me at all….in some ways, comes across as arrogant…and elsewhere in the Bible we are in fact suggested to take on the perspective of children throughout our lives–which has more meaning for me…thanks for writing this …good to focus on God and life’s meaning ….
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Great thoughts! Thank you!