Tag Archives: The Other End of the Dark

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


TO DANCE OR TO DIRGE? (Wisdom’s Many Children) Part 2

wisdom1In Part 1 we talked about how it takes more than one person, one church, one political party, or one culture to represent true wisdom, and how an over-identification with one over another is not only unwise but immature. Jesus said it reminded him of spoiled children whining about not getting their way.

“To what, then, can I compare the people of this generation? What are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to each other:

“‘We played the pipe for you, and you did not dance, we sang a dirge, and you did not cry.’

For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by all her children.” Luke 7:31-34

John and Jesus weren’t opposites. The way they conducted themselves was not contradictory but complementary. They both represented wisdom, while, from the outside looking in neither displayed to the naked eye all that wisdom entails. [Note: Of course Jesus was and is all that wisdom is, but to the ascetics of the day, he wasn’t ascetic enough. Although we might point out that he was born in a cave, fasted for forty days, and had no house to live in. Fairly ascetic from my point of view.] Continue reading

Undelivered Invitations

mailmanWhen I was a pastor I used to fantasize about being a mail carrier. I figured the pay would be about the same and the pressure exponentially reduced. The weight of mailbags wouldn’t compare with the charge of souls. I knew a couple of the privileged class of postal workers and they seemed so much less stressed than me. Lots of fresh air, a can of mace for un-neighborly dogs, and home for dinner minus the onus of what didn’t get done that day. What’s not to like?

If you’re a mail carrier and your daily task is a tad more challenging than I’ve indicated, I apologize for misrepresenting you. I’m sure, unlike the temperate climate in my West Coast city, harsh weather can be a pain, not to mention menacing home-alone-canines, full cans of pepper spray notwithstanding. And I presume that, unlike the olden days, fewer and fewer of your customers give you a fruitcake at Christmas.

But all things considered, you have to admit that when carriers of all things postal finish emptying their bag, they pull into the garage without a care. That is, unless they don’t empty their bag. Woe to the mail delivery person who fails to deliver all their boxes and letters!

A pedestrian metaphor to be sure (pun intended), but consider the follower of Jesus with his/her bag full of God’s party invitations. Not that difficult a job really. Just out delivering the mail, bad weather and snarling dogs aside. We don’t write the Maker’s mail or pay the postage. We just have to­­––I mean, get to––distribute it to those that God wants at his party. We don’t have to throw the party or pay for it. Jesus took care of all that. We’re not even charged with convincing the invitees to come. That’s the Spirit’s job. Pretty simple when you think about it. Just deliver the invitations with a smile.

But consider those Christians, of course we’re talking about those other Christians, whose bag at the end of the day (i.e. at the end of their life) is still full. Maybe they got distracted with opening their own mail, with inclement conditions, or the threat of ankle-biting Pekingese, but when they arrived home their mailbags are still full of undelivered party invitations.

“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds!”

What? You haven’t yet ordered, read, or reviewed on Amazon The Other End of the Dark? Well, okay, but you really should…

One Thing Leads to Another

Water splash

This is the final piece of a multi-post theme on how to love people toward Jesus from the story of the rescue of Rahab the prostitute. The others are called:

We come now to look at the far-reaching impact we make when we touch even one person…

Rahab wasn’t the only one saved the day the walls of Jericho came tumbling down. She cut a deal with Joshua’s scouts that included her parents, siblings, and their families. It occurs to me that if all she cared about was her own salvation, Rahab could’ve simply gone back with the scouts and left her family to die in the attack. It didn’t seem to enter her mind to leave her loved ones behind. She pled for their rescue along with hers right from the beginning. Continue reading

Where This “Snowflake” Lands

snowflakesHere is some friendly pushback to the rebuttals I received on a recent Facebook post of mine in which I linked an article from the New York Daily News by Shaun King. The gist of the article was that the President-Elect and his proposed cabinet are not as educated as our current President and his advisors and what that might mean about their relative preparedness. While a number of people disputed the premise, I agreed with King’s thesis.

As to the value of advanced degrees for people running our country, I point out that no one is saying that education is everything. It’s not, by any means, everything, but it is something, something important for people in such important positions of power. I offer a parallel or two. Continue reading

Rahab’s Red Rope

red-ropeThere’s a ministry in India that rescues and re-trains sex slaves, called “Rahab’s Rope.” Its founder says: “The rope in the story represents Rahab’s rescue both physically and spiritually, and there is a high probability that Rahab made the rope herself. Our hope is that, just as the rope that Rahab made represents her rescue, the skills taught to the women at our women’s centers will represent their physical and spiritual rescue as well.”  

The British Royal Navy used to weave a scarlet thread throughout all their rope. No matter where you cut it, this red thread could be seen. Figuratively, you might say that God wove a scarlet thread––the story of sacrifice––to run throughout the entire Bible and that wherever you open it you’ll find the sacrificial blood of Jesus represented. It appears in the sacrificial system, in prophecies, in the narrative of the cross itself, and in the teaching of the Apostles. If there’s a prominent theme in both testaments, it’s Jesus’ bloody sacrifice. Continue reading

It Takes a Savior To Save!

joshuawallsofjerichoWith the story of Rahab’s “salvation” as a backdrop, let’s now see who does the actual saving and how he does it.

Walls crumbling at the sound of shouts and trumpets? Not bad in the miracle department! Was it the perfectly articulated shouts or the trumpets’ tone that did the trick? I think not.

Remember how God told the Jews to march around the city walls for seven days without saying a word? No speaking for a week! Now that would be a miracle for me! I mean, not a word whispered between marchers, not a shout up to the Jerichoans peering down from their ramparts. What was that all about? My guess is that the Lord was reinforcing the point, “Put me first, do what I tell you, rest your mouths for the moment, and let me do the rest!” Continue reading