James on Justice (An Appeal for Classless Christianity) Introduction Part 2

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I invite you to the series of podcasts through the Book of James I’m developing. To whet your appetite here in the blog I’m providing sound bytes of the audio episodes. The current 15-minute episode is Part 2 of 2 introductory remarks on the epistle. Part 1 is here. Enjoy!

Of all the New Testament letters, I find great value in understanding the life situation of the author, James, the half-brother of Jesus. As such, you might imagine how much he picked up from his big Brother’s teaching and lifestyle, if only at the dinner table each night, especially on the topic of money, power, and classism…

He learned from Jesus that Christianity and Classism clash!

If you want to know what Jesus taught on socioeconomic class, read the distilled down version in his brother James’ letter. Though not a believer when Jesus was alive, James absorbed from him more than you’d have thought and includes more implied references to the teaching of Jesus than all the other apostles combined…

James grew up hearing and seeing the way that Jesus treated people, especially, given the prominence in his letter, the poor and powerless…

Can’t you just see adolescent Jesus bringing people home for dinner every night, not so much his buddies from soccer camp, but widows and orphans he encountered on the street? Maybe, for practice, he healed sparrows and multiplied breakfast for the family but it’s more likely that he took in Nazareth’s neediest…

Can you hear James:

“Seriously, Jesus! Who’s this now? Couldn’t we just have a family dinner once in a while without all these indigents who smell bad and have so many needs?”…

“Sorry, bro,” the Lord of glory responds, “but I couldn’t help myself. If it’s a matter of not having enough, they can have my plate. I’m happy to fast. Plus, it seems to me that everyone is ‘family.’ Besides, what about those who don’t have a family?”…

Then Mary chimes in:

“Just be patient with him. He is different, I’ll grant you that. But we could stand to learn from his example. I know his ways are strange to us and it is inconvenient to have such a brother, but give it some time and see if down the road it doesn’t make sense.”…

A few years later James gets converted and those things he objected to in his youth became a no-brainer for Jesus followers.

“Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.”

Check out the podcast and listen at the peril of your prejudice!

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