Tag Archives: James 1

James on Justice (An Appeal for Classless Christianity) James 1:12-2:7

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Here are some sound-bytes from my audio podcast on these verses quoted here to entice you to listen the brief teaching in the series I’m doing on Classless Christianity.

The “classless” kind of Christianity is the kind where rich and poor can look each other in the eye as brothers. It’s the kind where the haves and have nots coexist in mutuality, where each has something to share with the other…

Classless Christianity is not a one way street where the wealthy paternalistically give to the poor and the poor have nothing to offer the rich.

We’re told that “as iron sharpens iron so one man sharpens another”…  it’s not like one “class” of people do all the sharpening of all the other classes, who exist just to be sharpened… 

The pollutants that we inhale everyday from the world’s atmosphere include the toxins of pride, power, greed, graft, and self-indulgence…

A lot of Christians are pretty much only about sin-management. They work hard at not being worldly. They might not “smoke or chew or kiss girls who do” but make very little difference in the world and have very little chance of leaving it a better place than the way they found it…

“Real religion” is not only watching your mouth but also watching out for people who need special help, i.e. the least, the last, and the lost… 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

To Stand or Not to Stand (Part 1 of 2)

kaepernickSome people applaud Colin Kaepernick’s method of protest, while others load up for bear. Because I’m aware of the demographic of the bulk of my “readers” I feel the greater need to speak initially to the latter, to appeal to you to put lower your weapon and put it on safety.

You may not appreciate the means Kaepernick chose or care much for the messenger himself for using those means, but I’d like to propose that rather than degenerate to rhetoric-laden rancor, let’s see if we can’t turn this into an opportunity for dialog and even open-minded debate. I trust that you’re discontent with an immature knee-jerk reaction of self-righteous one-liners. Don’t make this into a Left versus Right, Us versus Them, Black versus Blue. Let’s do our best to focus on right versus wrong. I’m not talking about “I’m all right and you’re all wrong!

Instead, let’s try to get into the Maker’s head for a moment and imagine what he might be thinking about all this. After all, it is him to whom we have to give an account. It’s not our party, our people, or our personal preferences that matter as much as what the Creator wants––the One Who requires that we love our neighbor as much as we love ourselves. Continue reading

Another Reason to Weep

weeping angelA few years ago a brother from our church rushed into the church office on a weekday lunchtime and said, “There are two kids in the bushes right outside having sex!”

“What are you talking about?” I said.

“I’m not making this up. When I passed by the front of the church, there was a boy and girl having sex behind a bush!”

With our building located next to a high school hundreds of students passed through our property everyday on their way home or stayed to hang out on our lawn. We relished the opportunities that our proximity gave us to share God’s love with kids over pizza, music, and skate ramps. Of course there were boatloads of difficulties that went with the privilege, all of which were a small price to pay to be able to show and share good news with such young hearts. The most common inconveniences were relentless graffiti, piles of garbage, clouds of pot smoke wafting into the office windows, along with the occasional teenage brawl in the parking lot. Copulating in the bushes was a whole other level of disruption of our daily office routine! Continue reading

The Subversive’s Seldom Sung Song

 

note1Without cheating by scrolling down name this song let’s see how quickly you can identify this famous piece of poetry by only using this list of clues:

  • The song was written by a famous female
  • She is not commonly thought of as a songwriter or poet
  • 17th Century Japanese Christians quietly sang the words of the song as fellow Christians were being burnt at the stake.
  • During the British colonial rule of India, it was forbidden to sing this song in churches.
  • In the 1930s Franco banned it throughout Mexico.
  • The junta in Argentina forbade the song after the Mothers of the Disappeared displayed its words on placards in the capital plaza.
  • Gandhi requested that this song be read in all the places where the British flag was being lowered on the final day of imperial rule in India.
  • During the 1980s, the governments of Guatemala and El Salvador prohibited any public recitation of the song.
  • Dietrich Bonhoeffer proclaimed it as “the most passionate, the wildest, most revolutionary Advent hymn ever sung.”
  • Now I’m giving it away when I reveal that it is the longest recorded set of words spoken by any woman in the New Testament. (Guessed it yet?)
  • Oh, did I mention that the songwriter was pregnant when she wrote it (at a very young age I might add)? (If that didn’t do it, the last clue will!)
  • This was the first Christmas carol ever composed!

Continue reading