Category Archives: PODCAST

James on Justice (An Appeal for Classless Christianity) James 5:7-20

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These few highlights are from our concluding podcast message on the epistle of James. If you’ve followed these 8 or 9 teachings, you’ve already heard me say that James, the half-brother of Jesus, had a very specific theme in mind when he wrote, a class-less Christianity. In his last chapter, he pulled out all the stops and confronted those from a higher socioeconomic status who oppressed those with little to no status with impunity. Read at your own risk!


Here are a few select sound bytes of mine from the podcast

Jesus, the justice-maker is coming… The Leveler is coming and he will even things out…

The oppressor will be judged and the oppressed will be vindicated…

When the Lord returns, he’ll fix all inequities. You’ll get justice, if not now, certainly when he comes back. And he is “near.” Continue reading

James on Justice (An Appeal for Classless Christianity) James 2:8-26

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We’re doing a commentary through the book of James with an emphasis on justice and the kind of Christianity that treats people equally––a “Classless Christianity.” I put some of the highlights here in the blog to pique your interest enough to check out my brief audio teaching on these key verses.

Classism is when those WITH LESS are seen and treated AS LESS!

The first part of this chapter could be entitled: “Bigots Go To Church!” That is to say that a bigot is a bigot is a bigot and some of them serve as deacons, Sunday School teachers, and ushers at the door…

Jesus taught that hated Samaritans often make better neighbors than beloved Saints…

Our neighbor may well come from a different neighborhood, but they’re still neighbors and require the same respect that we give someone next door to us…

True Christianity is Classless… There’s no room in the church for law-breaking socioeconomic bigots… Continue reading

James on Justice (An Appeal for Classless Christianity) James 1:9-11

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I’m doing a commentary through James’ Epistle with an emphasis on justice and the kind of Christianity that sees everyone the same––a classless Christianity. I put the highlights here in the blog and then unpack it in my podcast.

James 1:9-11 is the key passage for this episode/post:

Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. 10 But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower. 11 For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business. (NIV)

“Any of God’s people who are poor should be glad that he thinks so highly of them. But any of the rich should be glad when he makes them humble.” (CEV)

James learned Classless Christianity from his ½ Brother, Jesus, the King of the upside down kingdom, and Master of the counterintuitive…

God is partial to the poor in the same way that firefighters are “partial” to houses on fire…

In the world, some are disdained and others acclaimed for their socioeconomic station, but for us those distinctions are irrelevant. Christ annihilates classism… Continue reading

James on Justice (An Appeal for Classless Christianity) Introduction Part 2

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I invite you to the series of podcasts through the Book of James I’m developing. To whet your appetite here in the blog I’m providing sound bytes of the audio episodes. The current 15-minute episode is Part 2 of 2 introductory remarks on the epistle. Part 1 is here. Enjoy!

Of all the New Testament letters, I find great value in understanding the life situation of the author, James, the half-brother of Jesus. As such, you might imagine how much he picked up from his big Brother’s teaching and lifestyle, if only at the dinner table each night, especially on the topic of money, power, and classism…

He learned from Jesus that Christianity and Classism clash! Continue reading

James on Justice (An Appeal for Classless Christianity) Intro Part 1

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Check out the series of audio podcasts through the Book of James that I’m in the process of producing. Introduction Part 1 is only 16 minutes long and fills in some of my skeleton thoughts here. Thus all the “…”

In a nutshell, James is about how Classism and Christianity clash…

“Classism,” according to the dictionary, is discrimination on the basis of social class or economic status.” It’s a system set up to benefit the upper class at the expense of the lower class. James saw it in the Church and by the Church, and he wasn’t having it…

“Classless Christianity” is the kind that treats everybody basically the same, where we preach and practice an egalitarian treatment of all humans (all divine image bearers), rich and poor, black and white, powerful and weak…

Most of us Bible fans would say the key to James is faith that works––“Don’t just say it, do it!” It’s true that he pulled no punches to make his point that a do nothing Christianity is no Christianity at all. But James had on his mind, a particular kind of good works that give evidence of saving faith. He hated theoretical faith but replaced it with something much more than theoretical works. He had some specific things in mind that demonstrate authentic Christianity, the kind that eschews classism…

Christians, just as prejudiced and bigoted along economic lines? “No way!” says James…

True religion looks after orphans and widows… You don’t get to show favoritism to the rich person over the poor at the church front door… If a brother or sister doesn’t have enough clothes or food and you do nothing about it, “What good is it?”… Some of you live in luxury and self-indulgence while some can’t even get a decent wage for their day’s labor…

James is bold to speak to the powerful rich and the vulnerable poor, to the corporate kings of Wall Street and those who live on the street. He tells us that the only brand of Christianity that God accepts clashes with cultural classism…

Check out the podcast…


BTW, I’m writing a book on evangelism. If you have any input for me, I’m all ears! And if you haven’t read my memoir, the profits of which benefit Freedom House, what are you waitin’ for?

A Primer on Prayer

prayingAside from the relentless enticement of the Holy “Spirit of grace and supplication” I can’t account for how much I’ve always loved spending time with the Lord. Sure, there’s discipline involved, but for me, it’s been more the desire, that clearly comes from him, than discipline. I wondered if after I “retired” from pastoring I would continue taking daily prayer walks, having what I call, “Concentrated Conversations with God,” and interceding for friends and pre-friends. It’s sort of part of the pastor’s job description to pray a lot, so when I didn’t have a job to describe, would I keep doing what I used to do while on the church payroll?

I admit that, during the period that I call “The Great Sadness,” which included loss of marriage, ministry, house, money, and health in one fell swoop, there was a bit of a lapse in my prayer routine. I did pray during those days, but my prayers sounded more like the petulant protests of a spoiled child than the praises of a grateful son. As my pain and cynicism subsided they gradually morphed back into two-sided life-giving conversations again. That’s not to say that petulance and doubt have no place in the prayer life. If you doubt this, just do a speedy scan of the Psalms, many of which are aches and pains put to poetry. Anyway, I was actually sort of surprised that there is such a thing as a prayer life after pastoring. In fact I’ve found that in many ways our conversations are more genuine and more profound than ever. Continue reading

Simplicity and Generosity

poverty 5You might’ve discerned by now that “simplicity” is a recurring theme of mine as well as something I aspire to live out in my own life. In terms of money and the material it affords, I think the Western Church has migrated to lands unimaginable to the first followers of Jesus. The way we view the material and how we use it would be as foreign to them as their ways, if we’re honest, are to us. It’s not bad to have a lot of money. In fact, it’s good to have a lot so we can help those who don’t have enough. If you think about it from a biblical vantage point, that’s the real value of money, to share it. “He must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.”

You say, “Yeah, but Paul said that God ‘gives us richly all things to enjoy.’” A crowd favorite verse in many churches.

That’s true, but then Jesus said “It’s better to give than to receive.” So if we blend those two together it seems clear that God gives us things richly to enjoy, and the best way to enjoy them is to share them with people who don’t have enough. I don’t know about you, but receiving makes me pretty happy, but if giving is even better than that, then I want to get on with giving! Continue reading