Chloe’s People

A biblical reflection, based on 1 Corinthians 1.10-18, on the state of the American nation

“I’ve heard from Chloe’s people that there are quarrels among you.”

Rival groups had disrupted the unity of the church in the city of Corinth. Hearing this bad news from Chloe’s people,[1] the Apostle Paul appealed that “all be in agreement without division and united in the same mind and purpose.”

Unity, then or now, does not mean unanimity of outlook and opinion. People disagree. Always. Rather, Paul called all to share a heartfelt, soul-deep care for each individual in the community, thus, for the health of the body, the whole. Such compassion lessened the likelihood of deepening disharmony, the exaltation of differences, the establishment of dividing lines of allegiance to certain leaders, and, by extension, to particular perspectives and individual interests.

Such division or schism, for Paul, was, at its root, a deeply spiritual dilemma. Thus, in rhetorical anguish, he cried out, “Has Christ been divided?”

I’m not so blasphemous to compare America to Christ. Nevertheless, the United States are not united. Our racial, social, and political ruptures run deep. Our national fabric is torn. Mournfully, I behold little evidence of many, especially in leadership, seeking to address our communal disaffections and to bind our collective wounds.

These days, I look for Chloe’s people. Those folks, particularly in leadership, whose love of the American nation and democracy is so intense that they dare to speak prophetically, truthfully whenever they believe that the life of the community is endangered; that body, which, in essence, lives and can live only with (com-) unity. Those folks who, for the sake of community, in the face of that danger, would march into hell and pray heaven to bring it to light.

Calling Chloe and her people! Where on earth are you?

© 2023 PRA

#America #disunity #leadership


[1] Who was Chloe and her people? She is mentioned only once in all of scripture. Yes, I’m curious about her identity, yet certain that I cannot know.

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