dave brisbin | 12.6.16
James Series 2: James tells us in the opening verses of his book that we should count it all joy when we encounter various difficulties because the testing of our faith produces endurance and the endurance produces a perfect result in which we lack for nothing. James then moves on to talk about asking for wisdom, asking without doubt, persevering to reward, the nature of temptation and presence. If we look at these verses from a Western point of view, we will have a complete misunderstanding of what James is saying in his Eastern way to an Eastern audience. 

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We in the West rely on our eyes rather than our hands looking to form over function; we see life through an intellectual, passive lens rather than an active, experiential one; we see life broken into separate, dualistic compartments and time as a linear segment between endpoints rather an a holistic whole. Unless we can begin to understand that James and his fellows always saw function over form, active experience over passive mental concept, and everything existing in a now moment, we won’t see how “asking” only exists in endurance as a working definition of faith, and how doubt and temptation are not evil or weak but the very elements that make our choices and our faith real, and how reward is never delayed in time but is the experience of enduring through the trial to God’s presence in every moment. We need to see James and Jesus from an Easter point of view—it only changes everything when we do.

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