I’ve guest posted on the Political Theology blog today, commenting on 1 Corinthians 7:29-31:
The sense of eschatological imminence that we encounter in New Testament passages such as 1 Corinthians 7 has represented a nagging problem for many theologians. Indeed, the failed arrival of the expected parousia has been presented as an unsettling factor for the early Church, yielding sharp cognitive dissonance and provoking radical compensatory theological readjustment (analogous to that discussed by the social psychologist Leon Festinger in his book When Prophecy Fails). This non-arrival of the promised eschaton was the wound from which such things as an elevated ecclesiology developed as the cicatrix, sacramental presence substituting for apocalyptic arrival. Against the background of such interpretations of early Christian eschatology, passages such as ours can appear principally as embarrassing texts to be rationalized than as relevant words to be applied.
I believe that we would be mistaken were we to adopt such an approach, however.
Read the rest here.