Tuesday, September 11, 2001
The writer focuses on the same verse that stood out to me, but for different reasons. "Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ." (vs.27) Today I have seen some people at their best: the doctors, firefighters, and other emergency personnel who rushed into disaster areas to rescue people; the deluge of blood donors at the Red Cross here in town; the Slashdotter who prayed for the first time in 20 years. But I have also seen people at their worst: reporters pestering the injured, shell-shocked victims just to get a story; Palestinians dancing in the streets and laughing at the devastation; American kids beating up an Arab kid in a horrifying display of racism. It is important in the days to come to remember that, "whatever happens," I must not ever stop being a Christian, a follower of Christ both in word and deed.
posted by Susanna King 9:43 PM
Monday, September 10, 2001
How interesting to go straight from James, the I-know-I'm-a-sinner epistle, to Philippians, the God-loves-me-and-everything's-great epistle. It makes me think about the experience of God's forgiveness, how giving up the burden of sin makes me feel lighter and much more conscious of God's grace.
posted by Susanna King 10:26 PM
Wednesday, September 05, 2001
(Hooray! Superflippy.net is back online!) You know, I think this is the first time I haven't wanted to read James. Usually, I crack my Bible open to James' epistle whenever I feel like I need a spiritual kick in the pants. Right now, though, I don't feel like I need his admonitions. Perhaps this different frame of mind will give me new insights into words that I've read many times before.
Weblogs are a perfect example of how language can both build up and tear down. Some people have encouraging, funny, even inspirational things to say. Others fill their blogs with anger and criticism. The writer says that Christians should focus on using language to heal. That's a very hard thing to do, because it means confronting hurt. But healing with words is an oft-overlooked part of the healing gifts God gave us.
posted by Susanna King 10:45 PM
Monday, September 03, 2001
I can see why Martin Luther didn't like James. This letter measures people by the law, the "old-fashioned way." Though at the same time it serves to remind me that it is impossible for anyone to keep the law perfectly. Take, for example, not showing partiality, the subject of this passage. Whenever I meet someone for the first time, I make assumptions based on their accent, their clothing, the color of their skin. It's just about impossible not to. But according to James that's a sin. So I have to depend on God's grace to forgive me for my sins of prejudice, and depend on his teachings to remind me to put aside that prejudice the moment it appears.
posted by Susanna King 10:58 PM
Sunday, September 02, 2001
It's been a long time, since I've written, but I've been reading. Today the writer talked about working spiritual discipline into your routine as the school year gets underway. Now that I'm trying to start a new schedule, maybe I will get back to writing in this journal as well as reading and praying. I think it's a good thing, because it lets me see where I've been and take courage from my past faith. This passage really is about discipline, about how spiritual discipline should be evident in the life one lives. I'm not defiling my marriage bed or anything like that, but there are a few areas I could work on. I know I'm already getting better at telling the truth. I'll have to remember to look back at this at the end of the year and contemplate the changes God has made in my life through improved spiritual discipline.
posted by Susanna King 10:50 PM