Saturday, 12 July 2014

Ignore This: Living In Luxury Condemned By James

Church-goers deny what the bible says – or at least they “explain it away”. While the book of James surely condemns wealth, many react, “God blesses with wealth”. Hmm. Where does that come from? Did Jesus say that? Here they loosely refer to the Old Testament. Hmmm. Usually they ignore the OT. But it’s convenient for legitimizing their exploitive lives. Not only does this ignore the context, but it denies and distracts from the James text and from what Jesus said. 

And such purveyors of "truth" try referring to some Old Testament examples of wealth. Hmm. So they ignore the OT except when it's time to justify their greed. This is what I call PAC Theology [pick and choose theology].

So let’s look at James.  Let’s remember that the men {not women, not God] who decided which books would be in the bible barely agreed to including James. Why? It is “too Jewish” – i.e. it doesn’t “spiritualize” life but is practical and “this worldly”.  It doesn’t, if we are honest, allow for changing the rich and poor to mean “in a spiritual sense”. It also, as with Jesus’ teaching, reinforces a kingdom in the authors’ days – or soon to come during their lives.

1:10: But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower.

1:27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their oppression and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world [materialism, favouritism toward the rich – ch. 2]

2:5f.  Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world [materially, status-wise] to be rich in faith and to INHERIT THE KINGDOM he promised those who love him? But you have insulted the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you?...Are they not the ones slandering the noble name of him to who you belong?

Wow. Have you ever heard such pronouncements made in church? No way! Rather, the minister [read liar] changes the bible to fit his [usually a man in evangelical churches – women still being forbidden from ‘leading’] ideology. Let’s be honest – this is lying. This is deceiving.  This is justifying the oppressors’ place in the world. Though the texts cited condemn the rich, the church dis-honestly changes the message to “soften” its impact. You know, God loves everyone [the same] - even Hitler? Oh no he was bad. 

We will continue with the text in a later blog. And it only gets harsher for the privileged. 

This painting by Hamilton artist Peter Reitsman sums up the church and the "christian" nation with respect to the rich, fair distribution of wealth and social justice:

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