Are we there yet?

The familiar complaint and plea from the backseat of a long road trip – or what seems long to the one voicing the inquiry. And the longer the destination looms in an unclear and uncertain future, the more mischief blossoms in the back seat. “He’s touching me” / “she on my side, make her move over / “they won’t let me sit by the window.”  It is not the jealousy, envy, malicious slander, and defamation that James has been admonishing the community about, but it bubbles up from the same source. Continue reading

James – an epistle of straw?

The Protestant reformer Martin Luther called the Letter of James an “epistle of straw.” While some claim he wanted to remove it completely from the Canon of New Testament scripture, that likely claims too much.  What is clear is that he held less importance than other NT books. He relegated James, as well as Hebrews, Jude, and Revelation to a second tier status. Why? Luther wrote: “Though this epistle of St. James was rejected by the ancients, I praise it and consider it a good book, because it sets up no doctrines of men but vigorously promulgates the law of God.” Luther never offers substantive proof of his rejection claim and in any case relies on two “ancients” (Origen and Eusebius) who don’t actually reject James but think of them as of lesser importance. A thought not shared among the whole of the patristic saints. Continue reading

Living into the unknown

Today’s first reading continues to work its way through the Letter of James.

13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we shall go into such and such a town, spend a year there doing business, and make a profit”— 14 you have no idea what your life will be like tomorrow. You are a puff of smoke that appears briefly and then disappears. 15 Instead you should say, “If the Lord wills it, we shall live to do this or that.” 16 But now you are boasting in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 So for one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, it is a sin. (James 4:13-17)

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