Facebook and Seminary connection

Hmmm, no one visited today, I think I did something funky on the FB security page…

I also emailed a seminary professor from a class 30 years ago to let him know that I used a quote from a journal we kept on James.

re: James 2:1 ”

“For, so great is the brightness of Christ, that it easily extinguishes all the glories of the world, if indeed it irradiates our eyes.  It hence follows that Christ is little esteemed by us, when the admiration of worldly glory lays on us.”  J. Calvin

Does James have an Outline

James is to the NT what Proverbs is to the OT – and both seem to lack a clear outline.  Scholars are discovering that Proverbs, particularly Chapter 10 and following is not as random as it appears.  James also seems to have a plan.

Walter Kaiser quotes from Luke T. Johnson (JBL, 1982) showing that Jame’s book follows the section in Leviticus 19 where the command to love your neighbor is found.

Lev 19:12; James 5:12 – do not swear falsely

Lev 19:13; James 5:4 – do not hold back wages

Lev 19:15; James 2:1 – Don’t show favoritism

Lev 19:16; James 4:11 – Do not slander

Lev 19:17; James 5:20 – Rebuke a sinner

Lev 19:18a; James 5:9 – Do not grumble/ hold grudge

Lev 19:18; James 2:8 – Love your neighbor

“It is most astonishing that a text from the heart of a book containing much of the ceremonial law along with the Holiness Code (Lev 18-20) should become the basis of such practical, ethical and moral nurturing in the New Testament as is found in the book of James.”  Kaiser, Promise-Plan, p. 254

Wisdom at a Funeral

At a recent funeral, conducted with people who are not actively part of the church community, I decided to start with a passage from Ecclesiastes and speak of the ability to enjoy simple gifts.  This is the passage:

Eccles. 2:24-26
    There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, [25] for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment? [26] For to the one who pleases him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and a striving after wind.

   Interestingly this lead to a pleasant conversation at the graveside by a friend of the family regarding work, possessions and taking time for rest and for God.

The gifts God gives are spiritual in nature (wisdom, knowledge and joy) and the material things of life are a “Heaping up” of stuff that we can not keep.  It reminds me of the comment I once heard by a Mennonite believer who was a truck driver by trade,

“I’ve never seen a trailer on a hearse.”

Incognito – Election news from Slate

In our continuing series of “incognito” pieces, this one is self explanatory.

Campaign strategists and pundits hoping to find the Gospel truth in today’s election results weren’t disappointed: There was birth, death, and resurrection. Rand Paul was born as a national leader of the Tea Party movement. Arlen Specter’s long political career came to an end. And the Democratic Party and Blanche Lincoln were brought back from the dead.
Slate 5/19/2010

Incognito – Backsliding


Market Update

12:00 pm : Stocks have steadied since their recent backslide.” The stock market has been volatile in the last week (if not two years!).  Today there was a downward movement, and then a recovery.  The News reported that this was about recovering from a “backslide”. 

Backslide  is a biblical term, the most frequent source is the Prophet Jeremiah.  Consider this verse: 

Jeremiah 3:22
    “Return, O faithless sons;
        I will heal your backsliding.”
    “Behold, we come to you,
        for you are the Lord our God. 

   Jeremiah’s career was a warning to a nation that had fallen away from faith in God and justice with their neighbors.  the prophet’s intense warnings, called “Jeremiads” were pointed and harsh.  (Check out Jeremiah 7 for a very interesting message to deliver on the temple steps.) 

  There was, no doubt, more at stake with Jeremiah’s message than the stock market report.