Here is chapter 12 Paul addresses the issue of spiritual gifts. Not wanting people to be ignorant regarding this important part of the Body of Christ. In this chapter there are two lists of gifts given, and can mistakenly be seen as a comprehensive list. Rather, they are merely tools to talk about the different ways we are created and gifted by God. Hence the discussion on the parts of the body.
For the most part we can read the chapter and walk away with a sense if understanding. There is a strong possibility we will walk away with an appreciation for the diversity in the church. Still there is a great danger. The danger is to recognize the diversity and think the individual as better than another because of the role we fulfill. That is to say, we recognize we need all the parts, yet we do not make room for all the parts. Our thinking can deteriorate to a place of calling for diversity, as long as we all think the same about it.
I see this most commonly when we talk about connecting with God through the spiritual disciplines. Each of us has a way in which we connect best with God, and we can think it is The best way to connect with God. The reality is, when we limit everyone else to our experience of God, our God is too small. The great challenge of the church today is everyone has an opinion of how others should connect with God, and when the church offers alternative options, people get nervous.
Over and over 1 Corinthians 12 is read. Repeatedly people affirm the diversity in the body as necessary, yet ignore it in how they live. I wonder if we like the words of 1 Corinthians more than we like the practice of those words.