Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed

A Brother’s Wisdom 63

Argument1.jpgWhat is it that leads Christians — those who say they are following Jesus — to go at one another, to being at one another’s throats, to schism and division? Here are the words of James:

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You
want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot
have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you
do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.


In James’ mind there is one thing to blame: you and your desires, us and our desires, me and my desires. Bad motives and our own pleasures.

The blame to be assigned can be found in the mirror (another image of self-reflection for James in 1:22-25). So…

Before we begin the finger-pointing at the schismatic nature of the church (and did you see the letter we posted Monday?), let us first look inward:

Am I schismatic with other segments of the church? (Like Catholics or Orthodox or the Reformed or the Baptists or the Methodists or the Charismatics or the Anabaptists.)

Am I seeking power and are my own pleasures at work in my attitudes toward others?

Are my motives good and pure and cross-shaped?

Do I want to win or to find truth and peace and justice and love?

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posted June 3, 2009 at 3:12 pm

Isn’t it possible that James 1 and 2 should also be read through the lens of the discussion here? That James is not snarling at the (external) wealthy oppressors – but is conveying a kingdom approach to life that overturns distinction and preference and power and selfish motivation and greed. Our motivations are to be cross shaped and governed by love for others?

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