For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18 NRSV)
Jonathan Rauch once wrote an article titled, "Why Is Japanese Baseball So Dull?" The article is not about baseball at all. It is about business. In it he discusses some differences between the Japanese and American ways of doing business. He tells of interviewing a well-known Japanese political scientist who became very excited when he discussed American meetings. The source of his enthusiasm was the fact that in American meetings he could jump up and down and call out, "I disagree! I disagree!" In Japan, it is considered rude to disagree with someone outright. Japanese men must sit through meetings without expressing positive or negative emotions for fear of offending someone.
Paul would have preferred a Japanese church, I suspect, to the church at Corinth. The church at Corinth obviously had some people who didn't mind shouting, "I disagree! I disagree!" The church experienced some problems after Paul left. Cliques formed and feelings were hurt. Some thought of themselves as super Christians who had some special gift that made them better than others in the church. Paul wanted them to see the error of their ways and work together as the body of Christ. Thus, he sought to focus their attention once again on their primary mission to be the church in mission.
Loving God, help me not to lose my focus of being in mission to those who don't know you. In Jesus' name, Amen.