The invitation to draw near

Human experience unfolds in story. Meaning is fashioned from places, plots, and players fused in real-time[1]. This is because more often than we like to admit it God uses the stories of people, events and the things we already know to reveal Himself and His will to us.

Christmas is a classic example of this.

Being gathered here together as a family already resembles something that happened around 2000 years ago in Bethlehem as the first Christmas was also celebrated by a family.

In fact as far as the biblical narrative is concerned it seems that human life begins and ends in the story of families: it starts with the story of Adam, Eve and their children and it ends with the entire household of God. In fact Matthew 1:1-17 speaks of Jesus’ genealogy: a story of families and its narratives of one family tragedy after another. And in the middle of this grand cosmic narrative is the story of the first Christmas that was again unfolded in the story of a family.

The Scandal of partiality in the Epistle of James

A few months ago I wrote an exegetical paper on James 2:1-14 exploring the theme of equality. Below is the paper's introduction and on the side are links to sections of the exegetical paper, it is my prayer that you'll find it insightful.

Many agree that the message of James is scandalous as it contains the famous passage that says: “man is not justified by faith alone.” In fact, a book has already been written about it --Elsa Tamez’s The Scandalous Message of James: Faith Without Works is Dead. However, I would like to point out that there is perhaps a more scandalous message contained in the Epistle of James –that is James’ disdain towards the practice of partiality in the community of faith.

The Scripture as the Word of God couched in ancient human language, in human words that persevere for Christians of all generations as a form of God's self-revelation to his people who are fashioned in and through Jesus of Nazareth. As Christians in the twentieth century we read and study that Word of God as nourishment of our spiritual lives. But we do not study it in a vacuum. We are members of a faith-community that feeds its spiritual life, indeed on the written Word of God along with the tradition that has been born of it and that has helped fashion the understanding of that written record[1].