The letters to the Corinthians are somewhat unique in the New Testament. In other letters, the readers are presumed to be somewhere on a scale from alienation to active persecution by their neighbors. They are outsiders when it comes to the city culture around them. The church at Corinth seems to have been pretty cozy with the city culture. In other letters, there is a distinctive doctrine to practice movement. However, First Corinthians is a bullet list of behavior problems. There is, no doubt, a connection between the disorders, difficulties and divisions Paul wrote to correct, and the fact that the people were operating with city values. It got messy in Corinth when the spirit of the city infected the heart of the church.
Let’s be honest. We know first hand what a church mess looks like. We don’t need to pretend to be shocked at the Corinthians. Are our community values a pure reflection of God’s revelation? Or are they mixed with the cultural values of our day?