If you saw the last post and remember that I read Jim West's blog and Scotteriology then you may have worked out what the Carnival is. Well, here's something from the latest Carnival.
A very lengthy quotation:
I’ve been pondering yesterday’s reading for St Clement. (For me it’s also tomorrow’s reading as I’m preaching at a transferred patronal festival.) It includes these verses from Philippians:
I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you also, my loyal companion, help these women, for they have struggled beside me in the work of the gospel, together with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life. (4:2-3 NRSV)Here, even more than in many places in Paul, it’s hard to reconstruct the details of the situation that is being taken for granted by Paul and his addressees. However, it seems to me that we can say the following.
- This touches on the main reasons for the letter. Paul’s appeal to Euodia and Syntyche echoes the language of his appeal in chapter 2 “to be of the same mind” which leads into the famous Christ-hymn.
- A personal disagreement between these two women seems to mirror, perhaps cause, a disagreement in the life of the church.
- Their position and their relationship is important enough for Paul to direct much of his argument towards healing it.
- There is no appeal to any other leader to solve the problem, knock heads together, etc, and there is noticeably no appeal to any man to exercise any authority over these women. Even Paul does not try to make his appeal one to authority, but one to friendship and mutual loyalty.
- The identity of the loyal companion Paul addresses is unknown. He is, however, a man asked to assist them. There is no male superiority assumed as a right.
- The women are equated with Clement (traditionally identified as the later bishop of Rome) and all Paul’s fellow-workers who have struggled with him in proclaiming the good news.
Thoughts? Invitations to comment at Wenatchee The Hatchet are invariably met with the endless throng of the singing of crickets across the cosmos. Maybe that's what we deserve for having disabled comments on some of the posts that were most likely to have inspired comments?