Here we are finally in the last chapter of James making a slow descent toward the runway to land this thing. We’ll be taking just the first half of chapter 5 today and finishing up next time.
As I’ve been saying all along, James’ letter addresses and undresses classism, the idea and lifestyle that one human is better than another based on external factors, like economics and social standing. You can’t be the kind of Christian that James, to say nothing of his half-brother Jesus, approve of, and at the same time, judge the relative worth of other humans based on their socioeconomic success or race or any external factor.
As in previous posts, I’ll be whetting your appetite with some hors d’oeuvres from my podcast on these verses from James 5. Please listen to the brief-ish audio and share it with someone you love!
“A final word to you arrogant rich: Take some lessons in lament. You’ll need buckets for the tears when the crash comes upon you. Your money is corrupt and your fine clothes stink. Your greedy luxuries are a cancer in your gut, destroying your life from within. You thought you were piling up wealth. What you’ve piled up is judgment.” The Message Bible
“Making a killing” to describe a good financial deal in stock market or real estate market is an interesting colloquialism, don’t you think? Who or what is being “killed” and who benefitted from the killing? Continue reading →
“Do unto those downstream as you would have those upstream do unto you.”Wendell Berry
The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern. Proverbs 29:7
I offer these brief thoughts as sort of an addendum to my previous posts called, “What Should We Do?” wherein I talked about the kingdom way of using wealth, leverage, and power. Here I’d like to use the actions of a comic, a candidate, and a few bad cops who have used these for bad instead of good.
The comedian to whom I refer is Bill Cosby, the cops are those who shoot first and ask questions later, and you might guess the identity of the candidate. I’m aware that Cosby hasn’t been conclusively proven guilty of numerous aggravated sexual assaults in a court of law. I know that many of the cases in which cops have been implicated of police brutality and murder are still pending. Let’s assume for argument’s sake that there is some truth to the accusations of guilt in at least some of these cases. Continue reading →
We’re talking about how John the Baptizer sized up the legitimacy of one’s repentance. Hip deep in the river he preached, “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance!” When three different groups of people came for baptism John gave each of them a litmus test to assess whether or not they’re ready for Messiah’s kingship.
This was big since these were people who worked for the occupying Roman oppressors collecting taxes from their own people. Worse than that, these shyster employees of an evil state typically extorted additional cash for their own use! They had their own neighbors by the throat. If they refused to pay, they would have to answer to Big Brother Rome. As much as the Jews hated Romans, they detested their sell out brothers more.
John’s message to us is…
If we have leverage, we are required to use it for the advantage of those who lack it.
“Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” 1 Peter 2:12
There’s an old saying, “He who marries the spirit of the age soon becomes a widower.” We Christians have to decide if we want to be Christ’s Bride or Babylon’s lover. A worldly church is of no good to God, itself, or the world.
We’re a colony of the just and righteous kingdom of God in a foreign land, an alternative society, not a reflection of society. Continue reading →