James 1

But the brother of humble circumstances is to glory in his high position; and the rich man is to glory in his humiliation, because like the flowering grass, he will pass away.
James 1:8-9

What a strange dichotomy.  An un-American one.

I have struggled with this passage for almost one year now. It is difficult to admit, but I do not understand the humiliation of the rich. We’ve all seen glimpses of it, perhaps. This economy has undone more than one self-made man. But, for the most part, it is the rich man who has been able to ride out tough times and what’s so humiliating about that?

I have never-not-once been humiliated while eating a finely cooked t-bone.

It’s a kingdom of paradox, I think. Always stretching me beyond what I see with my eyes. Always asking me to find counter-metaphors. Always begging me to understand humiliation so that I can deal with, much less identify with Christ on a cross. It’s a kingdom that elevates the poor widow (the eternal ROI of a single mite) and fails to exalt the rich young ruler.

If we’re really honest–that don’t make no sense.  But Lord, Christ. Help our unbelief.

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6 Responses to James 1

  1. You’re so poetic, husband.

    I agree with you, and I’m assuming that the more we ask, the more layers peel back on the one.

    I hope we’re ones to pursue humility actively by the Spirit, that it won’t be the choking on the T-bone that brings the humility.

    Have you ever wondered if we’re not all the poor and the rich all at once? Maybe we’re just to see our equal playing fields at the foot of the cross, how there really are no super stars – especially due to money.

    • sethhaines says:

      Good words. Later in James there is a lot of discussion about not identifying superstars by wealth (gold rings, I think it says). The interesting thing is that James doesn’t seem to say that “wealth is bad.” He just says don’t treat people differently because of it. I like the idea that all are rich and poor at the same time. Maybe that is where he was trying to lead the dispersed tribes.

      I like it when you stop by here. You are the greatest wife.

  2. @bibledude says:

    Dude…. #fistbump for this.

    I think I agree with you wife when she says… “Maybe we’re just to see our equal playing fields at the foot of the cross, how there really are no super stars – especially due to money.” She’s a wise one that Amber.

    It’s funny though… we just got done with a group blogging project on James over at my place… Lots of really cool perspectives. You should share the link to this post there.

    you rock.

    • sethhaines says:

      DUDE! I’ll totally check it out this evening (when I have some time to peruse). Your group blogging projects are always stellar.
      For those of you who don’t already, you really should visit http://bibledude.net.

      I agree about Amber. I’m a lucky lucky dude.

  3. J. Ray says:

    The closest I have come is when I am with my brother Jose who serves in Bangladesh. He is from Honduras, totally blends into the culture, lives an a fraction of what it would cost and American to live there, eats off the street and has friendships based on mutuality. I am just another rich, pampered, dysentery magnet, unable to understand the words or context and being sucked up to by people looking for anyway out. Humbling.

    Not that I necessarily think that is the context James is writing about, but maybe close?

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