Tag Archives: James 2

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

Being More or Less Like Jesus

 The other day I asked someone if he was a Christian. “More or less,” he replied. I asked him if it was more “more” or more “less.” He admitted he was more less than more more.like Jesus

I am trying to be more, more like Jesus. My guess is that you are too. So, what does that look like? How would we know if we’re very much or very little like him? Would we know by how seldom we cuss or drink too much or how many Sundays of the month we go to church? Maybe, but if you ask me, there are more reliable criteria by which we can assess our Christlikeness.

Remember the guy, who, in an attempt to trap Jesus, asked him how he could get eternal life? As he often did Jesus turned the question back on the so-called expert in biblical law, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” The man knew the standard distillation – love God more than anything else and neighbors as much as yourself – but like many believers well versed in the Bible’s essentials he wondered where he might locate a loophole of some kind. With wry smile he replied, “Yeah, but who exactly are these neighbors I have to love?” In other words, how can I do as little as possible to clear the Limbo bar? Continue reading

On being neighborly (Who do I have to love and how much?) Part 6 of 5ish

love your neighbor“I won’t mix in politics. War is the fruit of politics, and so I don’t involve myself, that’s all. If I get stuck in politics, I will stop loving. Because I will have to stand by one, not by all.” Mother Teresa

Neighborly: Characteristic of a good neighbor, especially helpful, friendly, kind, obliging, helpful, hospitable, civil, generous…

Okay, so I miscalculated! Six doesn’t fit neatly into five, but that’s the beauty of the “ish.” I had a sneaking suspicion that I’d get a little longwinded, so I covered myself with the all-purpose “ish.” No promises, but my new best guess is 7ish.

We’ve been doing a passage perusal of the oft repeated command to “Love our neighbors as ourselves” from Moses to Jesus to Paul and now to James. If you’ve been following along with each post, you’ll undoubtedly have noticed that the “neighbors” referred to in these passages are people who come from everyplace on the planet and will include, not only those who look and act the same as us, but those who are quite dissimilar from us.

I’ve made no secret that we Christians have a responsibility to rethink, in light of Scripture, our view of the discarded dregs of our own society as well as people who come here from other places fleeing from bone crushing poverty and/or brutally oppressive regimes. Though our neighbors live near and far, this is the aspect of neighborliness I felt compelled to highlight. I admit my grief about many of my fellow Jesus followers who seem to hold too narrow a definition of “neighbor” and carry little to no sense of duty for hospitality to our international neighbors. Continue reading